Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Dear Floor!*

When I first saw you I knew that we had to live together. You were beautiful, simple and a modern take on classic flagstones. You took my breath away - and that was just your price.

We had been living with rough concrete for too long while we finished the rest of the renovations - sweeping resulted in clouds of dust and the same dingy, dusty appearance. When I saw you, you seemed to be the perfect antidote. Clean fresh limestone that could be cared for and would make my home sparkle.

You did not come cheap, but I wanted you and knew that I must follow my heart. I had to juggle, to re prioritise and to plead but I got you. You arrived and eventually you went down (when has anything ever happened quickly in this household).

There you were in pristine sparkling form for A's 21st, and somehow our young guest failed to appreciate your magnificence. D liberally pebble dashed you with his excess red wine (no details here, it was messy and I don't want to remind you of your baser moments).

I wonder if you think of all the other more glamorous homes that you could have found. In stead of a castle or designer condominium, I secured you for my tiny tumbledown seventeenth century cottage.

I do my best to keep you in the condition to which you would like to become accustomed, but no matter how often I mop an enthusiastic border collie is never going to appreciate the merits of a saintly sparkle. In fact the only sparkle that is constant is the glitter that misses S's craft desk and that you seem to cunningly save for me and hide from my sweeping.

I appreciate that you do your best to show off your natural good looks and sophistication. It must be a tough job and I am sure that you feel under appreciated. You have to believe me when I say that knowing that you are there, even under the veneer of puppy paw prints, I maintain my conviction that you are beautiful!

I may walk all over you (sorry, that line had to surface) but I still respect you.

*Inspired by and the Sleep is for the Weak writing workshop

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Toxin Awareness

On the Ellen show, Sheryl Crow said that this is what caused her breast cancer.
It has been identified as the most common cause of the high levels of dioxin in breast cancer tissue.

Sheryl Crow's oncologist told her women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.
The heat reacts with the chemicals in the plastic of the bottle which releases dioxin into the water. Dioxin is a toxin increasingly found in breast cancer tissue. So please be careful and do not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.

Pass this on to all the women in your life. This information is the kind we need to know that just might save us! Use a stainless steel canteen or a glass bottle instead of plastic!

No plastic containers in microwave. No water bottles in freezer. No plastic wrap in microwave. A dioxin chemical causes cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies. Don't freeze your plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic. Recently, Edward Fujimoto , Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital, was on a TV program to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic containers. This especially applies to foods that contain fat.
He said that the combination of fat, high heat and plastic releases dioxin into the body.
Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Corning Ware, Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin. So, such things as T V dinners instant soups, etc., should be removed from the container and heated in something else.

Paper isn't bad but
you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.

reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons...

Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Saran wrap or Cling film,
is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is nuked, the highheat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

One year older, but am I wiser?

It is hard to believe that I have been tweeting for almost a year. I was very dubious about the whole thing until I went to a seminar entitled 'Organic PR'; Twitter seemed a fairly harmless, even potentially mercenary, way to fill in the hours.

My preconceptions have undergone a major reversal. I developed a severe Twitter habit: Initially I needed to get my first ten followers, then thought that I would be happy when I got a hundred ... and then I grew up!

I am still in the throws of a Twitter affair - but it is so different from imagined. It is so much more about what I can hear, contribute towards and learn rather than how I can sell. I am not interested in numbers, but in the people behind the numbers.

I have also learnt about the personal rewards of blogging. Finding this 'Sleep is for the Weak' writing workshop has been a highlight. I had never imagined so many witty, thought provoking and times heart wrenching blogs were out there, so many inspired by this workshop.

I have had personal and professional ups and downs - when the site got amazing national press coverage, when the sales failed to flood in, when we shared amazing recipes, and when I miscarried, when rediscovered my love of books. Yes, the on-line community has been a catalyst, a comfort and an eye opener.

There is so much to do, so much to learn but if what I have learnt over the past year is anything to go by, I'll be sharing it with you!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Which Mole Waddles?

Inspired by Raising my Boychick I thought I should untangle my conflicting female role models (or 'mole waddles' as I once said in a drunken debate - note to self: I have no head for alcohol since becoming a Mum).

Don't you just love a woman just responds to winning a Nobel prize with 'Oh, Christ'. Yes, Doris Lessing has balls to spare. This video of her hearing about the Nobel prize always raises a smile.

I love Doris Lessing, she has incisive intelligence, she fights for her ideals, bites the hands that feed her, she is rude, she is articulate and she is brilliant. She writes what she believes in and, boy, does she do it well!

Hold on, you may ask, didn't she abandon her kids when she left Southern Africa? Yes, and she has never apologised or sought to justify her decision. How can this woman be a role model? As a parent she definitely is not!

Let me explain my other role model. Frances is not famous, she does not aspire to be. She is just a friend of mine who I have not seen for a few years since she went to live in a deserted part of Kerry in rural Ireland. She is, however, my other role model. Just seeing her and her son together just made me realise how rewarding parenting could be.

What is so special about Frances as a Mum? Like Doris, she worked things out for herself. She read and she read, not baby manuals but about human development about psychology and about the things that underpin how we really work, then she got stuck in and enjoyed! I have never seen such joy at parenthood; she took the time to explore life afresh through her son's eyes.

My role models are conflicting and I don't aspire to fully emulate either. I do hope that I emulate their clarity and intelligence, I hope that I can blow raspberries in the face of convention when it runs counter to my family's best interests. I hope to have integrity at all times, to see beauty and to realise that there is always something to learn. Yes, I seem to have problems with conventional role models/ mole waddles but I can be inspired by, and celebrate, the diversity of amazing women out there (in my own way).