Thursday, January 29, 2015

I do NOT stand for mercy... Let me explain why...

First let me say, I also do NOT support the death penalty.

So, okay, two Aussies are on death row in Indonesia for attempting to smuggle drugs into the country. There is an online campaign called 'I stand for mercy' with celebratory support. The campaign describes them the way one might describe a naughty ten year old who stole cookies from the cookie jar - these are grown men who were trying to profit from the suffering of others - it wasn't a stupid thing or a wrong choice, it was a planned, arrogant, greedy, and merciless act of profiteering.

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I am a mother and I would be devastated if my children were in this situation, immanently facing a firing squad. I really feel for the parents of these young men.

Parents do their best to raise their children to be kind, and respectful, and to follow the law and understand the consequences of their actions and I have no doubt these parents did their best to do exactly this.

BUT...

These men broke the law. And the law is in place for a good reason.

Fifty Indonesians die every day from drug related causes. Fifty sets of parents mourn the death of their child every day. Fifty families are devastated every day. Where are the celebrities standing for their mercy?

Where was the mercy from these young men when they planned to profit from all this misery?

They have been rehabilitated, and that is great. It only took being caught for them to seen the horror they were contributing to. I am against the death penalty because rehabilitation is always preferable, and the death penalty rarely stops people from committing a crime.

BUT...

Schapelle Corby had been caught and convicted before these men arrived in Indonesian packing drugs. They knew the risk they were taking.

And still the drugs come. Indonesia made its biggest drug bust in history this week - and no doubt those criminals will also be sentenced to death, and no doubt their lawyers and families will beg for mercy as well...

The death penalty is a desperate law which is trying to scare drug smugglers into having mercy on the 350 Indonesian they kill every week - that's 18 200 people a year, consider that...

So, no I don't stand for mercy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The fullness of life...

I'm about to make dinner before a few friends come over for an Intimo Party - or as the Grumpy Old Man likes to call them, a 'panty party'. We picked up the little boys' school supplies today and they are off for their first day of the 2015 school year tomorrow. There is always something happening at the moment...

So let me tell you about this last week or so...

Last week I have visits from both my dad on Tuesday and my cousin (dad's eldest sister's eldest daughter... got that?) on Thursday. We've been seeing a bit more of dad over the past few months and it's great, the boys are starting to get very comfortable with him after a number of years of barely any contact.

I hadn't seen my cousin since my granddad's funeral in 1995. In the meantime, she has grown into a woman, and a mother of four (as well as foster mother of many of the past few years). It was great for my boys to meet her youngest last Thursday.



On Saturday I went to my friend, Simone's, house with a bunch of fabulous women, and we all brought something towards dinner - yes, even me! I cannot believe it either! We had a few drinks and many laughs, and not so much sleep, but it was great fun!


On Sunday we backed up again for a day at our gorgeous friend, Julia's. Julia will shortly have a liver resection to remove 72% of her liver. She has a fifty percent chance of surviving the procedure, and only then if her liver decides to grow, which it has so far stubbornly refused to do. There is no alternative, without the operation, her days are numbered at 270. Before the 'all on red' op, she wanted to have a big party with her friends. This is so very Jules! Throwing a fabulous dress up party for her friends when so many would barely muster getting out of bed. She is doing it tough, but she still smiles.


I got to borrow a dress and a head scarf from my friends Jayne and Steph. Does we make a likely bunch of muppets!


Please excuse my self-love here, this dress just made me feel so fabulous! I am determined to get one or two, one day!


One of Jules' friends had a vintage car and I couldn't resist laying all over it (with his permission, of course)!


Dear Lord, I was a bit enamoured with myself...


Me and Jules - being all twinsie!


And then it was back to real like with a thud on Monday. I was pretty wrung out after so much fun, so  my only goal for Monday was to NOT take a nap in the middle of the day.

Yesterday, it was into school prep mode. New uniform shorts for Erik, padlocks (how do they always manage to lose their padlocks, I mean seriously, don't they just hang on their lockers???), drink bottles, a hair cut for Erik (his choice, I was shocked too), and sim cards and phone covers for Erik's recently gifted secondhand phone and Bryn's inherited phone. Got to JB Hi Fi and the dude there (he really was a dude, you know), told me I was due to upgrade my phone. This was a surprise to me because I thought that wasn't until late in the year, but he told me I could upgrade to an iPhone 6 (he offered me a Samsung, ha!) AND I'd get 1GB more data AND it would cost me $10 LESS a month. So, I got a new phone, and so Erik got my old phone, and Bryn got the phone Erik had been gifted. Lots of happy people in this house yesterday (and lots of erasing and resetting of phones). The Grumpy Old Man thinks we're all nuts, he is very happy with his push button flip phone.


Tomorrow I go back to the office and edit the peer reviewed paper one last time (they want endnotes, not footnotes and full names in the bibliography). On Monday the big boys go back to high school...

And I guess life goes on. I am extremely grateful for that.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Submitting...

sub·mit  (səb-mĭt′)
v. sub·mit·ted, sub·mit·ting, sub·mits
v.tr.
1. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
2. To subject to a condition or process: submit a tissue sample to testing.
3. To present (something) to the consideration or judgment of another: We submitted our ideas to our supervisor. See Synonyms at propose.
4. To offer as a proposition or contention: I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.
v.intr.
1. To accept or give in to the authority, power, or will of another. See Synonyms at yield.
2. To allow oneself to be subjected to something: submit to an interview; submit to drug testing.
It's a scary thing to do, to submit. It means allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

Today I've allowed myself to be vulnerable three times. I tried to procrasta-edit, but at some point I new I would have to put my babies out there, submit them to scrutiny and criticism, and quite possibly rejection.

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The arbiter of my vulnerability
It is a necessary evil if I want anyone, other than my mum and my beleaguered friends, to read my work. I know there are writers out there who write for themselves, who claim they don't need to be published or have others sanction their work. Bully for them, eh?

Me, I need to know others have read my stories. I write to entertain, and though I receive a lot of feedback (one of the positives of doing a writing degree at any level is that someone is forced to read your work and comment on it, and oh, the pleasure of having people tell you they were moved by what you wrote!), I LOVE feedback.

When submitting to journal and book editors, a writer almost never gets feedback, so submitting offers no reward in that regard, but maybe, just maybe, they will like something I wrote and publish it and let my babies out into the world, and maybe one day, someone will tell me they were moved by my babies.

Also, I am going to tackle poetry again this week. I have a love-hate relationship with poetry. I have had a couple of poems published and I have been told my poetry isn't hideous, but I have yet to write a poem I didn't cringe at. My nemesis is cliche, and cliche and I have danced a long dance, and now my feet are sore and I want to be rid of my tiresome partner in crimes against poetry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fear...

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I've been thinking about fear a lot these past few days.

Since I had a dream, many years ago, in which I died a violent death, I have not feared death itself. I realise to a lot of people that may sound unrealistic or even arrogant, but it is true.

Some people feel the fear of dying is the ultimate fear, it is inevitable for all of us, and none of us know when we will die, not people on death row, and not even people with terminal illness. All we know for sure is that it will happen one day.

This last week a friend was told it will happen sooner than anyone would want and she was given a choice; fight death head on now and increase the risk of dying before Easter, or accept that you will die maybe before next Christmas or the one after. The talk of living was very much played down to almost nothing, by the sounds of it. And so I've been thinking about fear a lot.

I'm very afraid for my friend. There is no two ways about it. I know I would be less afraid if it was me, but then I would be afraid for my children and for my husband who might have to carry on without me. And it's not that I think they can't live without me, I know they can, but I know it would hurt them deeply. Hurting them scares me.

And then I ask myself, in light of all this, why do insignificant things scare me? Why am I scare of submitting my stories and being rejected? In the scheme of things, that is nothing. It hurts no one in the way losing a loved one would hurt. And why am I afraid of writing poetry. Is poetry painful - and if my poetry was painful - would that be such a terrible thing?

Why am I afraid of walking? Just going out for a walk? Walking is harmless, I don't have to walk a marathon or speed walk, I could just take a stroll outside. Out there were I'm scared to be alone.

A life lived in fear is not a life.

My friend has decided to fight death head on. I wondered what i would do, and I came to the conclusion I would do the same thing. So, if I would fight death head on, then I should fight all my fears head on. Just do it.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

All the feels...

Whoa! Did anyone notice time taking flight? I didn't, I've been a bit distracted about all the things going on around here in the past couple of weeks. I've been fortunate enough to spend some with family and friends, going out, or staying in. I've managed to, finally, get my resume on paper and send of a notice of availability to my head of school for tutoring.

Emotionally, it has been a very up and down start to the year, so I thought I'd journal those feels today to get them out of my head.

Happy!

I've done more cooking in the past couple of weeks than I did all of last year. Pretty much all new recipes.  Here is a sample of the meals I've made.

Cauliflower and broccoli bake. Was nice but next time I'm going to cut the cauliflower and broccoli into smaller pieces.

Chicken patties. These were nice and I had no idea how easy it was to make these at home - they were a decided improvement on what we had been buying at the supermarket!


Smoked salmon bites. These were a hit with the kids. Next time I'm going to use regular muffin trays instead of mini muffin trays because they'll be easier to fill.


Zucchini slice. The kids weren't a fan of this one, because the chunks of zucchini were too... chunky, so next time I'm going tot shred the zucchini.


Beef stew (accompanied by salad), this was yummy!


Fish curry. Everyone loved this except Erik. That is mainly because the Grumpy Old Man made an off-hand comment that it was a bit like Laksa. Erik doesn't like Laksa so he predetermined he would hate this.


Baked chicken thigh cutlet with bacon on top. So easy. Big hit.


Spinach carbonara. This was WAY too salty (due to bacon), and there wasn't enough spinach, so next time I'm using less bacon, more spinach and I'll probably add chicken as well. Then I expect it'll be fine.


French Chicken Casserole. Very nice, haven't had a meal with tarragon in a long while.


Chicken tenders wrapped in bacon. Bryn's favourite!


Stroganoff. Much better than any stroganoff we have had out of a packet.


Sheperd's pie with almond meal crust. Honestly, next time I won't bother with the crust, it adds over an hour to prep and cooking time, and I didn't really enjoy it (only ate half the crust).


Baked fish with parsley and lemon. I had no idea I could buy fish at just $10 per kilo. So, in the last couple of weeks we've had fresh fish TWICE. That is two more times than ever before for my children. Erik, having been told it was fish, asked if it was tofu. Oh my shame.


I've also been drinking lots and lots of soda water. I know, plain filter water is better, but I just can't stomach it. The fizz is fun. Also, I just wanted to post this photo because I really liked it!


There were other meals, like delicious healthy nachos (all the makings with mixed leaves instead of corn chips) and we've had a roast with roast vegies every Sunday.

Eating this stuff has done three things. It has freshened up our menu 100% and it was getting terminably boring. It has stopped the kids pestering us with 'What's for dinner?' And it has caused the Grumpy Old Man to lose 6.5kg and me to lose 4.5kg. I am never very hungry and I have no cravings. All these things make me happy!

Sad!

A friend of mine was told, thirteen months ago, that she has stage 4 bowel cancer. All of 2014 she has been battling along, buoyed by the hope that a liver resection might put her into remission. She has had to jump through more hoops than might seem humanly possible, and at each step, she has beaten the odds. Until this last week. Last Thursday, she received the devastating news that her liver has not grown enough for the surgery to proceed with anything more than a 50/50 chance of survival. I have been so deeply, deeply sad, sad and angry, because it's just not fair. She posted about her options, such as they are, on her blog this week - The Impossible Choice.

Guilty!

I have been feeling guilty. I feel I haven't done enough work for my PhD. This has been a great motivator, actually, so in this instance guilt isn't necessarily a bad thing. On Thursday and Friday I finally got really stuck into writing. I had already written eighteen stories for the colloquium paper in June, and a further seven in December. With twenty-five stories done, I still had ninety-five stories to write for my creative work. On Thursday and Friday I wrote ten stories. So, now I only have eighty-five stories left. That is write - not edit, I still have a mountain of editing ahead of me, but I need to get the stories down first. Cassandra is due back in two weeks time. Before then, I'd like to get another twenty-five stories on paper. That way I'll at least have written half the creative work, because really I have to have this all down (120 flash fictions and a further 20k exegesis) by the end o the year so I can spend the last six months editing and grounding my work into something relatively cohesive.

Hopeful!


Erik has started all the holiday homework he has to do for the three VCE units he's doing this year (Studio Art 1&2, Philosophy 1&2, and General Maths 1&2). I know VCE is a big deal, but I had not idea how much work he would have to do before he even had his first class. I am hopeful he will cope with it all, and I am hopeful he will develop better organisation skills than I have...


Speaking of organisational skills, I have invested in a paper and pen diary system. I was using my calendars and the google calendar, but nothing ever syncs properly (I'm probably doing something wrong, but I don't have the time or inclination to try and figure it out anymore). So, I ordered a very cutesy diary so that once something is written down, it doesn't disappear! Now I just need to remember to bring the thing with me! I am hopeful this will help me remember to do all the things.


Abandoned!

Yeah, only joking... Sort of. Tomorrow my co-procratinator is LEAVING THE COUNTRY! I mean, seriously Robbie, you could have just told me you needed to get more work done! Going to Korea is a bit of overkill, don't you think?

So, now I'll have to procrasti-plan on my own, damn... Horrible things might happen - I might drink LESS COFFEE, or I might be force to catch up with OTHER FRIENDS (if they even remember who I am now). I might actually even GET SOME WORK DONE.

Yeah no, I'm not joking, I feel totally abandoned.

Optimistic!

Mostly though, I feel optimistic about life at the moment. I feel like I'm starting to gain ground on my goals. Life is full and full-on and I still worry a lot about things I have no power to change, but I'm feeling optimistic about my growing awareness of the things I can have some influence over and taking steps to take those opportunities when they pop up instead of being afraid to put myself out there.


Friday, January 02, 2015

Chasing my tail already!

Day two of this shiny new year, and this morning I woke up in a sweat (it was warm overnight, but that's beside the point) with the faint memory of a December 4th deadline for ordering the older boys books for high school.

Books will only come to around $400 for both boys, but we have a budget of around $0... The school kids bonus is due in January, but after we pay $700 for the younger boys books (yes, really), and $600 towards the older boys fees, that'll leave maybe enough for some cheap shoes. We have no money for school uniform replacement items, but hopefully we'll find what we need in the hand-me-downs.

I was going to work on my resume today, but it's too hot for mum to get out here to give me some direction. So, instead I've been reviewing the writing units taught at Deakin so I have some idea of what I would like to be considered for teaching. Honestly, I'll teach anything. I want to say, 'Give me the dog unit, the one no one else wants!' We really need the income, but I really also need to just get into a classroom. This is what I've been working towards for years now. And we really need the income.

My head is very much still in holiday mode. I will be back in the office on Monday, one way or another, but that feels like an age away!

I have lots of stories to write and thankfully lots of ideas as well.

We had a chat with the boys about the work they need to be getting on with as well. Erik is doing three VCE level units this year (Maths, Studio Art, and Philosophy), so he is going to be very busy, he is also doing pre-VCE English, and an art elective.

Lukas didn't chose any VCE level classes this year, and I think that was very wise. This year he needs to learn some organisational skills and some autonomous time tabling skills as well.

source


Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015!

2015 posts, that is!

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope you all had a satisfying night last night! The Grumpy Old Man and I went to a friends house for a party. Lots of chats, laughs, a bit of unco dancing and some divine pavlova! It was a good night!

And today is the first day of the year which always has that special gleam of possibility to it!

Have you seen this meme yet?

source

If you have me on your social media you may have seen it because I posted it during December. I know why people do the new year, new me thing, though. Because of that special gleam of possibility that a brand new year brings. Leaving a whole year behind, signified by the change of date on everything, and stepping into a new year is like special into a world of magic where you have never stuffed up!

In light of this, my family is stepping into a new world today. For the next month we're eliminating sugar from our household completely - just to see how we go. Reprogramming our tastebud, I hope.

As well as this, we're eliminating grains - well, the GOM and I are eliminating grains, but the boys have access to Special K in the morning if they want it, for the rest of the day they're eating low carbs, high fat.

Why are we doing this? Well a friend of mine did this last year and it cleared up practically all the pain she was experiencing from fibromyalgia, and she's lost a heck of a lot of weight as an added bonus.

The Grumpy Old Man's knees and ankles are steadily getting more and more painful, and since we got the car, we haven't been walking as much, so the muscles in his legs are doing the older man withering thing. He saw a doctor a couple of years ago about the pain the doctor said to him then that if he didn't take some of the pressure of his knees and ankles (i.e. lose weight) and at the same time build the muscles around his knees, he wouldn't be able to walk in five years time.

Five years is now three years, and the Grumpy Old Man hasn't lost any weight since then, nor has he built any muscle. In fact, we've both put on weight (after maintaining my weight for several years, I put on 9kg last year).

So, we're going to try LCHF for January and see what results we get. See if our pain (I have lower back pain) reduces and if we lose any weight.

For dinner tonight Broccoli and Cauliflower bake with cheese and bacon!

recipe here



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