Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Slackness, thy name is Quixotic

So about a million years ago, Soy Mami y Mas awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award.

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There. Innit pretty? I'm really still thrilled to get these little awards, even though *polishes nails on her lapel* I've gotten quite a few by now. And Versatile certainly sums up my schizophrenic subject matter.

I have enjoyed Connie's blog for quite a while now, and after wondering for ages what the title meant, and thanks to Google Translator, was very pleased to find out it means "I am Mum and more". This sums her up very well, she writes beautifully about her miraculous blessing of a daughter, as well as some really deep stuff.

Now, the rules that are bestowed along with this blog say I have to tell you seven things about myself, but honestly, there's not a lot I haven't covered before. Which is why, lucky reader, I have decided to take up Tulpen's tag on her blog, Bad Words. This chick is seriously cool, hilarious and refuses to let raising two kids, one with special needs, make her grow up. She recently tagged me to answer eight questions of her own making, so you are getting real value for money here people!

1: Desert island time: What kind of chips do you bring?
You read my mind. I have been totally craving Pringles chips (original flavour, sour cream at a pinch) lately, and have been known to destroy a whole tube in one episode of House.

2: Speaking of chips. Double dip: Yes or No? Come on, nobody is watching.
At home, absolutely! Out, only when my margarita intake has surpassed my social conditioning.

3: You can only have ONE; your computer or your TV?
Duh, the computer, cause I can watch TV on it anyway.

4: Cheesecake: Proof that God exists and wants you to be happy, and fat. Yes or no?
Hmm. Proof that God exists and wants me to be happy, and proof that the devil will always punish happiness!

5: Farts are always funny. Yes or no?
Sometimes funnny, sometimes a Career Limiting Move. Depends on your boss. No, I don't want to elaborate.

6: Got kids? Watch Disney or Nick? What's your favorite? Don't got kids? You're watching way better TV than I am. You suck.
Ah yes, kid's shows. The only thing I seem to get to watch regularly these days. I am quite partial to Jane and the Dragon, and the old favourites Sesame St and Play School. My 3 year old Gorgeous Gal's favourite show? Masterchef.

7: Glee?
Yes please. Why couldn't my school have had show choir? Oh right, it probably did, but I was too busy being a bad girl and smoking and kissing boys behind the bike sheds.

I wish more of life was narrated by a nifty song choice and my friends spontaneously bursting into choreographed back up dancing. Not that that stops me bursting into song on a regular basis, it'd just be nice if people stopped looking at me so strangely when I did.

8: Really embarassing guilty pleasure. I'll show you mine if you show me yours. And mine is pretty embarassing.
You mean other than the fact I eat a whole tube of chips, douple dip them, once farted in front of my boss and burst in song at random intervals? hmmm...

Oh! I got one. I totally love to watch the TV show Wife Swap. The U.S. version. It's hideous, trashy, horrible, horrible T.V. and I love it!!! If you don't know what I am talking about you haven't lived! They take two familes, diametrically opposed in their lifestyle and beliefs, then make the women live in each others homes for two weeks. Just sit back and watch the familes implode! I call it Train Wreck T.V., I know it's awful, and I shouldn't look, but I am morbidly curious and can't look away.

So there you go folks, more useless random triva about me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Move over Rachel Zoe...

What does one wear to a family birthday dinner at the local Sizzlers family restaurant?

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A pink fairy princess outfit of course.

And how does one accessorise such an outfit?

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With pink suede and sequin cowboot boots, naturally!

P.S. The chihuahua in a handbag is so like, last year. Bored Labradors are the new black!


Take that Beyonce!

I don't usually like those posts where all they show is a video clip, but this one demands to be seen, deserves to be seen, and needs no more words....

Anita is a former stay at home Mum, turned comedic phenonmenon. She is a writer and performer, and most recently, winner of the Georgia Author of the Year. More awesomeness can be found at her website.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Panic Stations!

So it seems I have found myself a job. Well, really, it found me. I went along to an employment agency (actually one I used to work for when I was a recruiter!) for one job; a temp admin officer role for my local City Council and ended up with a whole 'nother job! Turns out just before I turned up for the interview, they had gotten a role in that nicely combines my training credentials (that I've barely used) with my knowledge of bookkeeping software (that I haven't used for years. Ahem).

So now I'm panicking on two fronts, possibly three. Actually, more like four.

One, I'm not totally convinced I'm up for the job. Sure, I will be given a crash-course in the software, and I do have the theoretical knowledge of how to train, but still. Eeek! I am trying to remind myself that I do best when given a challenge I need to live up to, and having faith that my brain and ability to take advantage of other people's skills adapt quickly will see me through.

Two, it's a full time job. The first I've had since having GG. This is what really scares me. Yes, I know she's three now, and it's not like she's a tiny baby anymore, but I am really worried about how this will affect us. I know I will miss the time away from her, and I know I am lucky that instead of having to put her in kindy full-time (thus negating it even being worth working anyway), I have a great family who are willing to look after my little Gorgeous Girl, and so I am slightly reassured that she will still have that loving, one-on-one care that young kids need.

But I'm still going to be basically giving up being the main person responsible for caring for her, day to day. Up til now, even though she has been going to kindy two days a week since she was about a year old (three days for a while there when I was living in Brisbane and working part-time), I have been the person responsible for those little ways we all have, the little rituals and sayings and ways that become our memories of our childhoods. I have been the one to teach her and encourage her, read to her, all those things. I have been the one to set the limits of how I would like her to act, and to reinforce those, now I'm giving up control of that, and relying on others to shape her behaviour.

Having just re-read this, I'm aware of how melodramatic I am being, and how I am over-reacting, but it's how I feel right now, like I'm about to give up a big part of being a Mum.

The good part is I guess, is that I am the one who will suffer the most being away from GG. She herself will be going to play with her kindy friends like always, and hanging out the other days with some of her favourite people, no doubt being spoiled and indulged.

The saving grace of all this (apart from the much needed financial boost of course!) is that it's a contract role. We're still hashing out the details of how long for etc., and it's true I am hoping it will convert into a permanent role, but I will probably try to negotiate a part-time role moving forward, once the money earned by working full-time has helped us catch up.

So the third reason I'm panicking? It's nearly an hour's drive away. This means not only am I away from GG every weekday, but for a significant length of time each day.

Four, what the hell will I wear?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Does this mean I'm a columnist now?

I am delighted to announce I have been asked to be a regular contributor on the wonderful Sharnanigans website!!

World domination here I come!!!

The contributions will focus a lot on my more spiritual side, my search for Zen and examining some of the issues affecting women today. Given an outlet for this side of me, this will help me get this blog back to what it orginally was, a light-hearted look at motherhood and other stuff that amuses and confuses me. Plus of course, the odd rant. Hey, I'm Quixotic, I've got to tilt at the odd windmill or two, right?

To check out this month's column, an exploration of negative self-talk and snarkiness towards other women, go here. If you're new to my blog, and want to check out the columns that got me a regular gig, check out here and here.

So go show Sharni some love, and congratulate her for recognising my genuis thank her for giving me a go!


Monday, June 21, 2010

And the winner is...

The winner of the $60 voucher for Buyster.com.au is...



envelope please....

Hke68336!!! As decided by the random number generator.

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The first two commenters weren't in Australia, so I couldn't include them, sorry. :(

Now here's the tricky part. I'm related to this commenter. I was tempted to run another draw, and also exclude the other family member who commented, but I don't want to punish them just for being related to me (some would say that's punishment enough!!).

So, even though it feels a little hinky, I am going to leave the results as they are, but promise you it was truly a fair draw.

So Hke, get yourself a proper name and email me for the details. And congratulations!


Friday, June 18, 2010

I have so many issues with this.

Fellow Gold Coaster Jesinta Campbell has just been crowned Miss Universe Australia 2010.

I kind of have an issue with the whole Miss Universe thing anyway. Firstly, why is it always an Earthling who wins? Rigged much?

Then of course there is the whole judging women based on their looks issue. Now, now I know it claims to also rate them according to their poise and ability to promote World Peace or whatever it is Miss Universe is supposed to do. If this is truly the case, please see below:

Now, watch this clip of Jesinta completely fluffing her answer during the "interview" section:

And the winner is??

Of course! The beautiful girl who can't string a sentence together!

Okay, that was a bit nasty, yes she did completely stuff up, and even when she kind of pulled herself together and give an answer, sun protection (a very important issue for all Australians) became skin care (a very important thing for beauty industry advertising) and her message lost all it's power. She did however, show some sort of grace in realising she had stuffed up and when she first seizes up and looks plaintively out at the audience, you do kind of think, "Oh, bless her little cotton socks, poor dear."

Given that this pagent wasn't televised, I don't know how well or otherwise the other girls did in their interview section, but given that they are all stunningly gorgeous and know how to work a swimwear and high-heels combo, are the Miss Universe Australia people sure they couldn't have picked a girl who actually managed to speak coherently?

Ah well, all the best Jesinta. However much I detest beauty pagents, I'll be happy for you if you win.


P.S - Don't forget to check out my giveaway - over here!

I have glue gun, and I'm not afraid to use it...

Actually, I'm petrified of the damn thing. I keep imagining what it would be like to live with my fingers glued together, then drifting off into various scenarios so much that I am actually in real danger of doing exactly that to myself. Sigh.

Anyflipper, in a burst of inspiration this morning I decided to dive into the massive cabinet full of scrapbooking things I have collected, blow off all the dust and actually do some scrapbooking.

I fell in love with the idea of scrapbooking while I was pregnant with GG. Up til then I had always thought of it as a bit daggy, and a bit of an old lady pursuit. Then I found out quite a few of my very trendy, creative friends also scrapped, and jumped on the bandwagon. Yes, I'm a lemming! So when Gorgeous Girl was born, I took millions of photos, all the while imagining how great they'd look in a beautifully embellished album.

Unfortunately, the nature of my particular addictive personality is that it's also very short-lived. I am also a perfectionist, and expect to be great at things immediately with no learning curve. All this, coupled with the demands of a fussy new baby, meant the all the scrapbooking paraphenalia was very quickly thrown across the room shelved.

But lo and behold; I have been itching to get back into it for a litle while now, and express some creativity (or perhaps develop some!), and scrapping is also a good way to use up all the wrapping paper and greeting cards I can't bring myself to throw into the recycling. Today I finished off a page I started ages ago, and completed two more whole pages! Clever me!

I'm a little hesitant to put up pics, as I know some people are actually much better at this than me, but I'm proud of them and wanted to share. Please remember, these are my first attempts!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Competition Time!!!

I know, I'm excited too!!! For the first time ever, I am offering a give-away here at Quixotic Life!!

The good folks at Buyster.com.au have contacted me and offered up a $60 voucher, to spend on any item on their site. That's the whole site, folks: kitchenware, furniture, kid's toys, rugs, manchester and lighting!!! You do have to live in Australia however, or be willing to fly here to pick up your prize and ship it home!!

Head on over now and check them out, they do actually have great stuff. I did briefly wonder how this fits in with my whole "ethical consumer" stance, but then I advised myself to stop being so Serious Sally and give my readers some goodies!! It's not like I'm the one doing the buying, yeah?

So, what do you have to do? Well it's easy. If you're not already, become a follower. Then, leave a comment below describing the one thing that children (probably your own, but anyone's count!) have taught you that you didn't expect to find out.

Then cross your fingers and wait til Monday, when the winner will be chosen by one of those random number generator thingies, and announced!! Ta-da!!

Good luck!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Around the World, Around the World

I think I just had one of those "teachable moments" the Montessori books are always talking about.

Earlier this evening, GG and I were enjoying some quiet, wind-down time listening to classical music after a gourmet dinner. Oh okay, you got me - we were watching T.V. after eating cereal for dinner (in my defence, we did have a lovely, healthy cauliflower soup for lunch)!

An ad came on the telly, advertising a European cruise company and showing iconic shots of castles, mountains, etc. Hannah noticed a particular scene looked pretty, and said she would like to visit that castle.

"Mmmm, it looks pretty, doesn't it honey?" I murmured non-commitally.

"You take me there one day Mummy?"

"Well, I'd love to honey, but it's a veeeeery long way, way away."

A discussion followed about how far it was, and I used a comparison of when we flew to Melbourne it took two hours in the plane, but to fly to Europe would take a whole day in a plane. I could see the concept didn't really take, and was ready to just change to subject and leave it, but GG kept asking questions relating to it, and I tried to think of ways to explain the scope of the world to a 3-year old.

In a burst of inspiration, I grabbed the (always handy) laptop, and pulled up a nice, colourful world map.

We then spent an amazing hour, exploring the world via Google images. I started off by showing her the Gold Coast, where we live, and tracked the mouse up to Brisbane, where we drove recently. I then showed her where Melbourne was, and reminded her how we travelled there by plane a year ago, and how long it took.

Then I showed her where various friends and family live or have sent her postcards from: Canada, Croatia, Italy, Bermuda, India, New Zealand, Germany. Her expression was priceless as she sat there on the couch, wide-eyed and contemplating the size of the world, and all the different countries. I explained that she would learn all this in school, but I could show her a bit for now and see what she thought. I've never seen her pay such rapt attention. She was fascinated, and asking questions about everything. She then herself started pointing at countries and asking about them: Russia, China, Indonesia, Africa, Brazil. Once I showed her each place on the map, I pulled up some images of iconic landmarks, the people, whatever came up. We saw carnivale outfits from Brazil, German castles, African kids tending their goats, Indian women in saris, the Canadian Rockies, Italian churches. I loved it, and I loved watching GG love it.

I'm not sure how much of it she absorbed, if any, but she was truly interested, and talking about the buildings and people she saw. Especially when she noticed that the African kids all had dark skin. She asked me why and I told her.

"Well, everybody has different coloured skin, see how mine is darker than yours? I bet you couldn't find one person with skin the exact same colour as yours. Well, people who live in Africa, their skin is all different shades too, but it tends to be darker, quite dark."

"But why is it dark?"

"Umm, well Africa is a very hot country, with lots of strong sun, and their dark skin protects them from getting burned by the sun."

What she definitely did absorb was that it's fascinating to learn new things, and that there is a whole, massive world of information out there, and it's at our fingertips.

I want to instill a love of learning in GG, a curiosity about why, what, how and a thirst for knowledge. It seems we're on the right track, her natural curiosity is only getting stronger and I need to be mindful of that, and make myself available to answer her questions, incessant as they may be!

I don't think we can just wait until our kids hit school age, then just turn them over to the teachers and hope everything goes well. We have been teaching them from the day they were born, and I think we should continue to do so, all the rest of their lives. Yes, schooling is important, and I'm certainly not the person to go to with your algebra equations, but parents need to encourage a desire to learn, and show how enriching it can be. I can still remember my Mum replying to me questioning the importance and relevance of a particular subject (it may or may not have been algebra), "The important part of school isn't exactly what you learn; it's that you learn how to learn."

We also need to remind them to be questioning, and examine the motivations behind the messages they receive. This is especially important as they get older and are hit by media and advertising more and more. Is that ad for Coke showing because they care about your happiness this summer, or because they want to sell more product?

These will definitely be the lessons I'll be teaching GG.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

You know you're a Mama if...

... even when talking to only adults, you still spell out the risqué words, like "B-R-A" and "L-O-L-L-I-E-S"?

... you couldn’t recommend a five-star restaurant to save your life, but know the exact location of every parents room and playground in a 10 kilometre radius.

... when fossicking about in your bag for your purse, you have pulled out a dummy/pair of kids undies/pointy plastic toy/desiccated snack food.

... you have ever wondered what the nutritional value of a dead leaf was.

... sleep is a distant memory.

... you find yourself still watching Play School, even though your children have wandered off to play.

... when quizzed, you can name the entire cast of your child’s favourite cartoon show.

... you can remember every major illness your children ever had, and when they had it, but can’t remember your husband’s mobile number.

... you have ever uttered the words, “Because I said so”, or “Well, why didn’t you go before we left?”

... you know what it is like to have your heart walk outside your body.


Friday, June 11, 2010


My brand new nephew,

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Isn't he gorgeous? Yes, I am biased, having just become an Aunty for the first time, but c'mon, all babies are gorgeous and precious and squishy little love bundles!! The general consensus is he has his Dad's shape face, but Mum's features, he certainly has her stubborness!

Last Monday, having gone 10 days overdue, my sister was informed she 'had' to go to hospital to have an induction. Sharing the same DNA as me, she rankled a little at being told she 'had' to do anything, and lengthy discussion over medical know-how versus nature knowing what's best ensued. We both tended to err on the side that Mother Nature has been doing this baby thing for a while now, and probably has it down pat, but also the Doctors, despite often having a God complex, do know their stuff too, and only have her and the baby's best interest at heart. Plus, she was 10 days overdue, and completely over being pregnant. She just wanted to meet her baby.

So, Sis dutifully rocked up to hospital to have her induction. (I will try to keep this part of the post as TMI-free as possible, but hey, when you're talking babies, you're talking jay-jays!). Some gel was applied to her cervix and... nothing. Now, friends of mine have had inductions and tell me the minute that gel went on, wham! labour kicked in. So Sis (and the entire family) waited. And waited. And waited some more. Nothing, after a whole day, two lots of gel: nothing, no dilation, no effacing, a big fat nothing.

Tuesday morning, after having a very lonely night all by herself in hospital, another lot of gel was applied, and again nothing. Sis has been thinking long and hard and asks for a caesarian, but no dice. There's the difference between private and public hopitals, in private, they can't wait to cut you open, and will use any excuse to whip out a scapel. In public, you have you have to practically take to yourself with the bendy little plastic cutlery they give you with your dinner. (Yes, yes, I know I'm generalising, its called poetic licence and hey, how much fun would a reasoned, rational post be to read? That's right, none at all, so shush.)

So another day of waiting, another day of absolutely no progress. Another lonely night.

Wednesday morning, the most determined midwife on the planet finally manages to break Sis's waters. That is definitely a TMI item, suffice to say, she'd probably be pretty good at playing the piano. Then, they try to attach the little wire monitor thingy on bub's head. He decides to protest and is shaking his head to stop her. Mums, just pause for a second and imagine your bub's engaged head shaking around like a bobble-head dashboard dog. Yeah, fun. They do manage to get it on, but he shakes it off a bit later.

Because her waters have now been broken, Sis can now be put on a drip and given some drug or other that will start labour. It starts, sort of, but never really progresses past a bit uncomfortable. Cervix hasn't budged an inch.

After about 10 hours of mild labour, the Doctors finally get the picture (that the midwives have been telling them for a day and a half now) that the induction isn't working, and Sis gets a caesarian, and finally gets to meet her little man! For those who need to know, 8 pound, 11 ounces, with a whopping 37cm head! No wonder Sis's cervix didn't want anything to do with letting that kid through!

During this whole saga, I had been getting really pissed off at the whole process. My rankling at Sis being told she HAD to have an induction, rather than just let nature to the job probably stemmed from my own feelings about being being basically scared into a c-section I didn't need, and my resentment of that, so I had kind of swung to the opposite end of the pendulum. I can know see that yes, she was over a week overdue, and something needed to be done, and of course, you don't want to just start cutting expectant Mums open just because it's all getting a bit tedious. Part of it was also a kind of protectiveness of my baby sister, and reacting to seeing her getting upset.

When I was getting rather gnashy and attitude-y about the whole thing, and contemplating storming the maternity ward like an SS trooper and applying foot to ass, I had a conversation with my Mum and my own Aunty. They gave me some very wise and timely advice, "Yes, it's frustrating and probably a bit scary, and not quite what she had planned, but hey! Welcome to parenthood". Instantly, the wind went out of my sails and I calmed down. Of course, they were right. In the lifetime of motherhood Sis has ahead of her, this will barely even rate as a blip.

I'm not against anyway a Mother wants to have her baby, nor anyway she ends up delivering. Labour is just the beginning of parenthood, not the defining moment. We need to remember the goal is end up with a happy, healthy baby in your arms, not to have a certain type of experience.

Now that I've had my rant, here's some pics to get us all gooey again.

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GG meeting Parker. She was so cute with him, softly crooning, "Hello baby Parker, I'm your cousin". So gentle and tender with him. Bless.

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P.S. We have since found out that Sis and her husband found out the baby's gender at 8 months... and managed to keep the secret the whole time!!!! She should be a secret agent!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stay Tuned!!

Coming soon: a new baby, lots of gorgeous newborn pics and a bit of a rant!!!

Intrigued? Yes? Good, that's the plan!!


Ethical Consumerism – The First Foray

After having made the decision to start being more aware of where what I buy comes from, and just what I am supporting with my dollar, I did this week’s shop pretty much as an experiment. I am never going to assimilate all the information on all the companies out there, so I figured I would buy as I usually do, and then do the research. Yes, I probably could have done my research first, but the sad fact is I can’t remember what brand a lot of the things I buy are, until I see it sitting on the shelf and recognise the colours and pretty pictures. You know, sort of like a friend you went to school with, you don’t know their name, but when you see them, they feel familiar!

The sources I am using at the moment are Knowmore.org, the Choice website, a whole lotta Google and the Ethical Consumer Guide, both the website and the handbag-sized book, which I sure will be handy as I get more educated, but at the moment constantly referring to it whilst wrangling a 3 year old with the exuberance of a baby lamb, steering a trolley who clearly has a murder-suicide pact with the end-of-aisle displays, whilst simultaneously trying to maintain a conversation with my slightly dotty mother and actually complete my shopping before Christmas is only slightly easier than negotiating world peace.

So, working through the receipt from today’s shop, here is how I went. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this shop, as I mentioned in my last post, a lot of the time I have to make sacrifices between what I’d like to be buying, and what we can actually afford.

Campbell’s Vegetable Stock – Campbell’s have received some criticism of not labelling GMO foods, and are on record for having donated money towards overthrowing a ruling that would make them, but have no other though.

Campbell’s also own Arnott’s, whose biscuits I usually buy (Milk Arrowroots) but today I took advantage of a special and bought the Goodman Fielder owned Paradise brand biscuits. I haven’t tried them yet but if they are yummy I will continue to buy them anyway, as they are made in Australia (despite being almost an Aussie icon, Arnott’s are now owned by Campbell’s, an American company) and the Ethical Consumer Guide listed them as no criticisms, and strong praise for GE-free brands and being a signatory to the National Packaging Covenant (2008).

Tuscan Meatball meal base - Masterfoods - I usually don’t like to use these, but sometimes I am tempted to buy one that looks yummy or has been recommended, then make my own version from scratch. I did this recently with a Tomato & Onion Sausage Slow Cooker recipe base, and my home version is actually nicer. I choose this one as it sounded appealing and had no preservatives, numbers etc. included. Masterfoods products are made by Mars Australia, owned by Effem Foods Pty Ltd, who in turn are owned by Mars Inc. Mars Inc. has been criticised for continuing to exacerbate the problems of child labour and poverty by refusing to enter Fair Trade agreements with Cocoa farmers. Mars, as the largest chocolate and candy company in the world, with annual sales of more than $20 billion, has the highest responsibility and the most resources to offer Fair Trade Certified chocolate, so it is terribly disappointing that they don’t.

Therefore – no more Masterfoods products.

A2 milk – produced by Freedom Nutritional foods, no information available other than non-compliance with a voluntary signing of the NPC. I choose it though as the A2 casien is much less likely than the A1 caseins in normal milk to set of allergies and asthma, which GG is high-risk for.

I drink Shape – made by Lion Nathans, owned by Kirin Holdings. Hematech (a division of Kirin) have received criticism for genetically modifying beef cattle for anti-body production. I need to look into this further to decide how I feel about it. At first glance it smacks of animal testing, but my feeling is it may be similar to how draft horses are used to produce anti-venon to save lives from snakebites etc. The animals are usually kept in quite good conditions, because they need to be in robust health for the process to work. Initially very, very small amounts of venom (or viruses, I guess) are injected into the animal, and as their system produces anti-bodies for it, larger amounts are introduced. Eventually, the animal has a large amount of anti-bodies in its system which can be taken from blood drawn from the animal and isolated. I am trying to find more information on if this process is similar to what Hematech do, but need to do more digging.

Custard and cream – Pauls – made by Parmalat Australia, but owned by Parmalat, an Italian company. They get a strong tick from the Ethical Consumer Guide, so I’ll happily continue buying this brand. Again, I would buy organic from a health store if and when I can afford it, but for now, it’s good enough.

Mainland cheese – NZ owned Fonterra Co-Operative Group, also gets a tick from the ECG.

I also bought Coles brand pork sausages, mince and gravy beef. I’m happy with the mince and beef, I’d prefer organic, but can’t afford it this week, but at least it’s Australian and I’m happy with the standard of animal welfare for beef cattle in Australia.

Be Natural Muesli Bars – these are made by Kelloggs. This was a judgemental call, I’m not a fan of their marketing tactics, especially for cereals like Nutri-Grain, and they actually have a boycott call out at the moment for refusing to use only GE-Free Sugar, but this wasn’t as important to me as not buying the Uncle Toby’s brand, who are owned by Nestle, and we are boycotting Nestle due to their continuing to use cocoa from the Ivory Coast, despite the use of forced and unforced child labour there, and their appalling practices in aggressively and irresponsibly marketing baby formula in developing countries, esp. Africa.

Wiggles branded kids Weet-Bix – made in Australia by Sanitarium, who are actually owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which I didn’t know, but I’m still happy to buy the products.
Helgas Soy & Linseed bread – a Goodman Fielder company. This again was a judgement call. Whilst their advertising for Meadow Lea pissed me off, that isn’t enough of a reason for me not to buy this brand. Their record on the use of palm oil might be in the future though – they are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but are yet to take any action on this. I’m giving them a bit of rope, seeing if they will hang themselves.

Fruit & Veg
I also bought my fruit and veg from Coles today. I usually like to but these from the local growers at my neighbourhood Farmers Market, at least until my own garden starts producing again, but I know we have plans for this Sunday morning so I won’t get there, and besides, what would GG eat til the end of the week? I will try to buy more from there in future, or at least from my local Wray Organic store, who source from local growers.

I hope I haven’t bored you completely to tears with this post, this is more about me wanting to be more accountable, rather than me wanting to entertain you (as much as I desperately do, you understand), and if you have made it this far, thank you, now go get a life!!!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Good Buy-brations

I'm setting myself a challenge, something I have been thinking about and working towards for a little while now.

I'm working towards being an ethical consumer. It's quite a maze, there is so much to consider; organics, preservatives and additives, fairtrade practices, company corporate stewardship, food miles, price, genetic engineering, blah-de-blah-blah.

It started as a germ of an idea, and like so many things in my life, ethical consumerism just kept popping up in my life; I'd open a magazine and see an article about sweatshops and the fashion industry, organics was everywhere I turned, I'd get a flyer advertising local fruits and veggies and talking about food miles. The clincher was when I discovered a little while ago the Ethical Consumer Guide website. Suddenly, there were no more excuses.

Take for instance the link between the chocolate industry and child slave labour. Once you learn something like that, it's pretty hard to ignore it, and as the website says, Your Dollar is Your Vote. You might think that one person giving up their Fruit N Nut isn't a big dent in the profits of a mega-multi-national, but I am a firm believer in the premise that if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Besides, what if a million people all decided that they were the one person who could make a difference?

As an aside, I see that Cadbury are now advertising their Dairy Milk range as Fairtrade, which I'm sure is a great step in the right direction, but if I'm giving money for that particular product, I'm really giving money to the entire company, the rest of which is not Fairtrade Certified.

In the grocery arena, given that there are so many things to consider,and I often have to make a trade-off between a few products, neither of which are 100% perfect, but for instance, choosing a imported brand that is Fairtrade certified, as opposed to an Australian made brand, owned by international conglomerate with an appaling record, like Nestle. I still have a household to manage on a very tight budget, and sometimes compromises must be made. This is where the Ethical Consumer pocket guide is great, I can whip it out at the shops and use it to help make an informed decision.

It took me a little while to define what exactly I am challenging myself to do; I'm certainly not setting out to only buy organic, or only local foods etc., but I do care about supporting ethical and fairtrade companies, as well as the quality of the food I give my family. I eventually got it into words, remembering the whole Your Dollar is Your Vote premise...

"I'm only going to buy products I feel good about giving my vote to."

I want to make sure I am providing healthy food for my family, as interfered with as little as possible, and containing as few numbers as possible, while at the same time supporting companies that are preferably Australian, ethical and fairtrade.

I was considering making myself accountable to this by blogging about it, and I'd be interested to hear if you are interested in reading about it?

As for the gentic engineering thing, I'm still on the fence, still researching. Part of me says that we have been selectively breeding plants and animals for desirable qualities for centuries. Without "engineering" of genetics, we wouldn't have Labradors, or orange carrots (they used to be purple, you know). But this was all selective breeding that could conceivably happen naturally, taking animals or plants with desirable qualities, and cross-breeding them with animals and plants from the same species with other desirable qualities. Cool. What I'm not so sure about is, for example, taking the genes of the cold-water fish the winter flounder, and inserting them into the DNA of strawberries, so they will tolerate cold better. Creepy.

I do wonder though, if the Frankenstein factor might be worth it, should genetic engineering prove a viable way to combat world hunger. Somehow I doubt it will though, given that poverty and hunger in thrid-world countries has more to do with politics, power and money than the amount of food available worldwide. Especially since genetically engineered seeds are patented and licensed, and the countries that can't afford to feed their people as it is are hardly likely to be able to afford these. Or the despots running the country aren't likely to, given that they amass armies in their own name rather than feed their people as it is.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Poor Me Post

Sorry I have been absent folks, I thought I was battling a headcold, but it turns out I have another problem - an infected wisdom tooth. It had been aching for a few days, but I thought it would just pop through liek the others... not so. After waking up last night in AGONY, thawing half a freezers worth of frozen veggies etc. on the side of my face whilst finally agreeing that the nausea and loopiness that codine gives me was worth it and spending the night lying awake in misery trying to figure out how I can rip my jaw out of my head, I did what all modern, independent women do... I called my Mum and asked her to take me to where they keep the drugs. Hubby and child headed off to a friends birthday lunch in Brisbane and we were off to the dentist.

Turns out I have a very infected and possibly impacted wisdom tooth. Pericoron-something-itis. Did I mention codine makes me loopy?

So I am whisked off for an x-ray so they can see the lay of the land in my jaw and rip the sucker out. At th elast minute before I get under the x-ray machine thingy, I think to say, "Oh, there's a slight chance I could be pregnant". Yep, secret's out, we've been trying for a little while, but had some issues with weird cycles etc. I think we missed out window this month, but not entirely sure. I almost wish I'd not siad anything. No I don't. Well, maybe.

Turns out, no x-ray with a chance of pregancy. And no extraction without an x-ray, they need to see where the nerves or something imprtant-sounding are.

So, for the first time all year, I am now hoping that I'm NOT pregnant, and hoping that the anti-biotics they gave me kick in quick. Otherwise, I can't have my tooth out for 9 months!!! Arrrghh!

Oh, and just to amke sure I'm truly miserable, I still have rampant sinusitis and pressure headaches from that. Cause you know, I don't do things by halves!

OK, enough self-pity, I'm going to lay down. Peace out everyone.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baby got Back... Chat

No! I want this one! No, because I want...! No, because I don't like it!, No, I want that one! No, I do it!!! No, I do it myself!

Gah!!!! It has been backchat city around here for the last week or so. GG has discovered she has her own opinions on a vast range of subjects, and is adamant about expressing these. She also highly values her ever-growing independence, and vehemently resists any effort on my part to assist her in any way, shape or form. Of course, she is only capable of so much, and then when she can't do something, throws a fit. All of this, combined with my battling a headcold, has made me want to lock her in a cupboard lock myself in my room. With a bottle of vodka Nyall.

Everything has been a battle this week, from getting her dressed, where she refuses to wear anything other than some God-awful and totally seasonally inappropriate outfit she has chosen herself, getting her in the bath, getting her out of the bath, you name it, if I mention it, she refuses it. I've always been a 'pick your battles' kind of Mum, willing to let some things slide, so as I'm not constantly harping on at her, but this is becoming like a reflex; Mummy says something, I say No.

GG has always been a happy soul, she's had the usual toddler tantrums and crankiness when she's tired etc., but her basic nature is sunshine. She is also usually very helpful, always wanting to do some small job; be the stirrer when I'm baking, help me weed the garden, pass me pegs as I hang washing etc., she just likes to be involved. This has stopped in the last week, anytime I ask her if she wants to help me, I get a firm No. She also used to be a quite agreeable girl, happy to go along with whatever I suggested, now she argues almost everything.

This morning I gave her a warning about the way she was behaving and was told, "Mummy, you need to watch your attitude". Hmmmm. Resisting the urge to throw something at her, I simply told her the way she was speaking to me was rude, and I wasn't interested in listening to her. She did actually say sorry at the time, so I left it, but a bit later I spoke to her about how it mightn't seem fair that she can't tell me what to do, but I can tell her, but that is because I am the adult, and my job is to teach her acceptable ways of behaving and speaking to people.

One of her favourite causes to rail against is the fact that I am in charge, and she will nearly always shout back, "No I am!!" I understand how frustrating it must be for her, she has just turned three and is just now realising how powerless she is, how many decisions are out of her hands. I am sort of proud of her for valuing her independence so much, and fighting so fiercely for it. I don't want to stamp that out, it will serve her well in the future, but I do need to find a channel for it. I give her as many opportunities as I can to let her make her own decisions, but instead of her demanding to wear a summer dress in cold, rainy weather, I give her three options, all clothes I am happy for her to wear, then she can choose from these. I create as many opportunites as I can at home to let her choose what we will do together, and I let her do as many things as she can for herself, like I make sure her shoes have velcro or elastic straps, so she can put them on herself.

I'm betting on my theory that this is just another phase, an exploration of what she can and can't do, and an experiment in what I'll let her get away with. I'm betting on the theory that children need parents (especially the main caregiver) who are confidently in charge, sure of themselves and consistent in the limits they set. The need to feel that someone who is capable of being in charge is in charge. So I'm going to give her those small accomplishments, just enough to retain that spark of independence, but try not to play into her drama so much and remain firmly, calmly in charge. I'm sure her natural inclination to want to be part of the team that is our family and help out will re-assert itself, as soon as she's done testing her limits.

And I'm pretty sure both of us will survive this phase. Just.