Sunday 14 December 2014

First of the Month Fiction - Jan (Gone Fishin')

I'm shutting up shop early, so this is the final post for the year, and possibly until First of the Month Fiction Feb is posted. So happy Christmas to you all, enjoy the holidays, stay safe, drive carefully and most of all, be happy!

Same rules as always - write 100 word story (in exactly 100 words) or one less than 30.

Put your story in the comments then link your blog so we can see your style in unfettered form. Mine is 100 words:

She knew Santa looked at who was naughty or nice and gave gifts accordingly. She'd been good all year, not a cross word, always helpful and kind. Yet the Christmas tree was still bare, not a single gift at the base. The stocking hung by the chimney with care was also empty. Disappointment and confusion would reign yet again on Christmas morning.

He could think of a present for every single child on the face of the earth but didn't ever remember to leave something for her. Mrs Claus looked at her exhausted husband and wondered if he'd ever change. 

Linking this old Christmas tale for #MondayWRites

Wednesday 10 December 2014

What I couldn't live without this Christmas

I could not have managed without online shopping - so while it's not technically a favourite possession, it has helped me acquired a tonne of gifts and saved my sanity.

I discovered this too late but there is an online shopping site that gives to charity while you shop at big sites like Priceline, Iconic, ASOS and Expedia (and many, many more). You select the charity too. So if you still have shopping to do, consider Shopnate.

I also discovered Industrie's Grooming kit - Shaving cream, razor and pomade in a stylish bag. $19.95 and the proceeds go to cure Brain Cancer (Dr Teo). This is now my gift of choice for those hard to buy for 20 year old cousins...

As always, this holiday season, where possible, give gifts that give twice, then it's win-win all round.

Happy Christmas everyone, this is my last visit to the Lounge for 2014. Thanks for hosting. 
Also wishing everyone at #FYBF a merry christmas and thank you Grace for so letting us come over to your place every Friday!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

What I learnt from Snowpiercer

I learnt I could watch a whole movie, from beginning to end, and not recognise the leading man. I did feel he was familiar, but it was only afterwards when I googled the cast to see what I'd seen him in, that I realised it was Captain America! I have mentioned in the past, I can't tell him and the 2 Ryans apart, but I can usually pick that it is one of the three, just not which one.

John Hurt has been looking that way for about the last 30 years, but somehow looks better now than ten years ago - less frail, if you get what I mean.

Tilda Swinton likes to play off her looks, in the sense she is very good looking but I think likes to play ugly, or at very least odd characters. She is fabulous in this.

However, I have to admit,more than anything else, it made me want to watch The Good, The Bad and the Weird again - which as we own the DVD, won't be a problem.

Lastly, it had the warning, in the post apopcalyptic world, you want to be at the head of the train not the end.

Have you ever watched a movie and not recognised the lead actor?

Monday 8 December 2014

Good for her, not for me!

I am reading Amy Poehler's Yes Please - I'm a huge fan of this talented lady and it's only making me love her more. I have a total crush on her and she grows more awesome in my estimation the more I read. This book is the perfect Christmas gift for women everywhere, as she's like Oprah but funnier.

It's irrelevant if you watch her show or movies, the book contains so many words of wisdom to live by, that I've got 2 more posts lined up and I'm only 100 pages in. (I hope this plug and link to the book sale page excuses any copyright issues).

In an offhand remark, she announces the perfect response to those judgmental or loaded statements: "Good for her, not for me!". If you've switched to bottle feeding and people start shoving the stories of breast feeding struggle in your face, simply say "Good for her, not for me!". If someone is lauding the importance of stay-at-home mums on your first day back at work, smile and say "Good for her, not for me!". If someone is telling you how they need to work for their sanity, while you treasure your time at home with the kids, respond with a cheery "Good for you, not for me!" Save your arguments for the professionals - always seek medical opinions on home birth, elective cesarean, feeding, exercise, home schooling, private schooling (whatever the issue is that's giving you grief). To friends and family, respond with a "Good for her, not for me", and better yet, mean it. How they raise their kids and live their life is really no concern of ours.

We don't have to justify our decisions if we believe we are doing what is right of us (and the child) and have the medical/professional back up to ensure we are doing no harm.

More importantly, we don't need to play the game where parenting sites and women's media use click bait to make us be nasty to other women.

Next time you see it on Facebook, just scroll on past.

Next time someone comes in on the attack, smile sweetly and say "Good for her, not for me!".

Please note, this is not a post advocating any type of birth method or child rearing method over any other methods. This is a post advocating that women stop fighting with each other on these issues. (To which you can say to me, of course "Good for you, but not for me")

Linking up with #BWBR


Friday 5 December 2014

Fruits of Summer

There is something special about summer, the lazy days, the swimming - in a pool or ocean, kids playing with a hose in the backyard. Laughter, eating outdoors and the fruit. For some reason everyone in this house seems to start eating fruit - not just the apples, now neglected in the bowl, but the fridge is stuffed with cherries, strawberries, peaches, watermelon and mangoes.
Our compost is packed with skins and seeds.

I was Christmas shopping in the city and very taken with this offering at The Galleries, stopped for a peach then continued on my way.

Does fruit mean summertime to you?

Remember: "You've got to go out on a limb sometimes because that's where the fruit is." Will Rogers

Linking up this old post for #RubyTuesdayToo as I've just not been seeing any reds at all!

Thursday 4 December 2014

Be the change you want to see in the world (mark 2)

I have written a post with this title before but it's a fitting quote so I'm using it again, thank you Ghandi.

I was in discussion with Handbag Mafia on her interesting post on the No Gender December. She and I view this topic differently, both agreed it should change, but differing on who should make it happen. It's prompted me to write about instigating change, because to me, it's an easy fix. There are certain changes that can be made by the pressure of people power, and this is one of them. The mighty consumer only needs to redirect their dollar, and email the relevant stores as to why they redirected their dollar, and I can tell you now, if enough people do this, the stores will stop this type of marketing immediately.

The hitch, it may be more expensive, or you can't get your child the thing they want for Christmas. Here's the cold facts, you need to weigh up if you want the change enough to inconvenience yourself. Christmas doesn't have to be about getting toys, we choose to celebrate it that way. At any point we can change it. Santa doesn't have to bring what you ask for (remember when you asked for a pony?), we've lead them to expect that.

If you really want change, it requires more than sharing a facebook status. It needs time, or money, or going without - removing yourself from the equation. It can be hard work, or the unpopular choice.

I am greatly concerned about the environment, and I've altered a lot of the way I consume items and power (and resources) over the last few years. However, once a fortnight I sit down to watch F1, and I love it. Unfortunately, I know I do more damage to the environment with my tv on in that 2 hours than all my power & energy saving manoeuvres in the year. Thousands of people fly around the globe to watch it, and the cars burn millions of gallons of fuel to race for sport. My TV tuned into the race means advertisers support their enterprise. I am part of the problem. I can happily not use the clothes dryer, but I'm not prepared to inconvenience myself by not following a sport. I can't pretend I'm not solving the problem because it's too hard, or too big, I just don't want to give up something I like.

I pick this example as it's not money related, it's purely choice. I am not perfect, I understand that we don't really want to put ourselves out for our causes. I have also given you permission to call me out in my hypocrisy. This hypocrisy is how I know that the refusal not to buy the toys from the cheaper Gender marketing stores is just a rationalisation. We all do it, and while it's not admirable, it's human. In the No Gender December campaign, you can complain the government won't legislate against it, or you can start a movement to change it yourself.

If you really want change, you have to step up to the plate and make it happen. Go without something, if it means you aren't funding the status quo you're trying to change. In the story of Aki Ra, none of the selfish rationalisations took precedence. Whenever he hit a stumbling block, he worked around it. There's a lot we can learn from this exceptional man.

You really want change? It starts with you.

PS I am not for the Gender marketing, but I've always just ignored it. In Hangbag Mafia's post, she links to some interesting articles re the link to Domestic Violence. I'd love it if the shops stopped doing it, and if every 'girls' toy wasn't pink. I'd also prefer more well rounded Mother's Day and Father's Day promotions, while we're at it.

Linking up with #OpenSlather

Monday 1 December 2014

2014 in Review

This year has been crazy with plenty of good but unfortunately it's fair share of bad. But such is life, as they for my year in review, I'm picking off the blog and finding my pretty pics I that make me smile:

1. A big personal highlight was when I made the long list of the Hunter Writers Centre short story competition and got my story published.

2. My partner and I had a long overdue holiday away to Singapore for the Grand Prix (for me) and Berlin for the Marathon (for him) WITHOUT KIDS. It was fabulous and we definitely made the most of it, and had a lovely time reconnecting. I will treasure that always - not to mention I absolutely loved Berlin, and thought the people were fabulous and the city is cool and beautiful. Singapore I've visited plenty over the last few years (Thanks Scoot) so it's like a second home at the moment but at GP time, it truly shines.

3. Our family holiday included Siem Reap, and I discovered a love for this city, and found I really changed as a result of this trip. The lesson learnt at the Landmine Museum really altered the way I see the world, and how I see my role in it.

4. My youngest started school and I am stretched across three schools and failing a little to keep up. (My diary has the words 'presentation day' written on Monday and Tuesday but not for which child or at which school).

5. The kids are wonderful, and continue to delight and bring light into my day but being a parent can suck in so many ways. It's hard to reconcile the two truths at time.

6. Weekends away are good for my sanity. Sometimes I surprise myself. Having wondered why we would go to Thredbo out of ski season, I had a great weekend and we all had fun together. Sometimes you need to ignore your attitude.

7. I am currently trying not to let things get me down, but I am sinking a little. I am grateful to those that are accommodating my crappiness and not pressing me when I pull out, but continuing to be patient. I am also happy with friends who know not to ask me too much.

8. I only crossed off one thing from my Torschlusspanik list this year - and only set myself two challenges. This is a loss in my quality of life, so I will set that as a New Year Resolution and try to reinvigorate my lifestyle again.

9. My piece on Siem Reap on my travel blog was translated into German. I am very proud of this and I feel good that my effort to promote the NGOs is now in two languages.

10. I get a lot out of my blog, from the community that reads it, and very occasionally, some money. As finding suitable paid work has been harder than I imagined, this keeps me busy and is great for my self esteem. Positive pats on the back from bloggers I consider far more popular and talented than myself, really make my spirits soar. Writing these reflective posts help me keep my focus on the good things I've done in the year. If you aren't writing a year in review, I suggest a 'proud moments' post is worth a try.

I would also like to thank those that have joined in First of The Month Fiction over the year. I love reading your work and seeing just what can be done in a short, short story.

Linking up with #IMustConfess with what has been a very enjoyable prompt

Sheepish Sexism

Awhile back, there was a hoohar about Baa Baa Black Sheep being racist (the rhyme is actually to do with tax but anyway, the ultimate implication is the black wool is much more in demand, so I don't understand why some people see it as negative towards black sheep), so some people wanted it to be about Rainbow Sheep.

Yesterday, I was in the library, and they were singing it in their pre-school playgroup. The leader sang 'One for the little boy or girl that lives down the lane'. She then followed up, 'Well, you all sang 'boy' so now let's sing it with 'girl''.

My question, is the rhyme sexist? If there is only one person living down the lane, then it can only be a boy or a girl. Is it sexist if it's a boy?

I would argue it's neither racist (historically or currently) nor sexist - in fact, it's very egalitarian in that both the Master and the Dame get a for the being down the lane, their gender is irrelevant - the fact that they are deemed worthy of a bag of wool is not. Scullery boy? Illegitimate child? Why are they giving a bag of wool to a kid?

Where do others stand on this apparent hotbed of political incorrectness?

Linking up with #MummyMondays and #WeeklyWrapUp