Post Consumerism

So we live in a world that has so much for those in the first world, and so little in other parts of the world. I’ve struggled with this a lot, the discrepancy that exists, and also the consumer based society that the first world lives in.

I’ve been doing a small part – by choosing to shop for my clothes solely in thrift and opportunity shops. I’ve been doing this now for the last three years, and not only have I saved a fortune, I’ve also funded a lot of worthwhile charity organisations in the process.

Where possible I have also sourced second hand furniture – choosing to only buy a mattress new in the last three years. Small tiny steps in trying to counter the consumerism, but it’s a start.

I needed new plates – after a few clumsy moments I’d decimated my plates, so I found a box full at a garage sale. The lady selling them was pleased I took them off her hands, I found some great plates in the box and now have enough to last me the next ten years (since I got my last place setting from a friend who was downsizing). New glasses? Bought them at the Church thrift shop near my part time library job. Fifty cents each and the best thing, when I have a clumsy moment, or my child accidentally drops one, it’s not the end of the world.

This year I’ve decided to look at up cycling as a new way of making more out of what I do own. So I’ve found an awesome website to review: http://www.upcyclethat.com/

Awesome ideas and things I can do!!!!

 

Raising a low tech child

My son is low tech, has been since he was born. He’s not plugged into anything apart from an hour of computer games in the morning on his school holidays – which he uses to play Age of Empires or Minecraft.

Apart from that, he plays with his lego, army dudes, dinosaurs, toys or he reads books. Real books – ones that you lay on your bed, couch or in your beanbag to read. He’s a reader, because we’ve modeled reading to him. It’s not hard, ever since he was born, he’s been read to, and we’ve sat and read with him. In the early days it would be simple picture books, and he would sit cuddled up and watch as I read to him. His dad would sit and read to him, and we would discuss the books.

We didn’t set out to teach him his alphabet or his numbers before school, but when he started primary, he was equipped with a love of learning. His reading was helped by his decision to participate in the MS Readathon when he was aged six. He set his goal for 100 books in a month. He achieved that, by sitting and reading up to six picture books a night, and interspersing that with longer Geronimo Stilton books that took several nights to finish. But he did it, and it was amazing the leap forward that made across his subjects.

His ability to read has helped across all of his subjects. There is a direct link to literacy and learning in the research being published…. He’s the kid who gets excited when the teacher says it’s quiet reading time, and to get out your books. He carries books with him to read when he’s having to wait anywhere – and he’s not attached to a screen to be entertained. He’s following in my footsteps, I’m the person who you see on public transport happily reading a book, and not immersed in the digital world, but actually reading a hard copy book…..

It is possible to raise children who are literate and still able to navigate the future world. He’s having to use an ipad this year as part of the school program this year, and this I hope will not mean the end to hours spent reading his awesome collection of books. I don’t want to see him sucked into the empty vacuum that exists where there is an overwhelming urge to be connected to the net 24/7. Because there is life in the low tech world, and it’s one that values the communities we live in, where little children can help raise funds for charities through reading…..

 

Fodmap friendly

So here I am rapidly approaching Xmas with that fear and dread of what I’m going to encounter on Xmas day. I went to see the GP and have now got my special pills that I can take if I accidentally ingest something I can’t tolerate anymore.I’ll also be taking my very own corn crackers in case I need something to eat and there’s no carbs I can eat…..

I’ve a long list of what I can’t eat anymore and sometimes I think oh my gosh what can I eat? This is what I’ve found through trial and error that I can no longer eat:

Inulin – yep things like bananas are off my table now

Yeast – I have found I can tolerate if I’ve been really really good a small slice of sourdough maybe once a month…….

Coconut Oil – oh my stomach is rolling at that one…..

Soy – where once I was the soy chai latte girl, I’ve now had to go to rice milk…..

Gluten and Wheat – again I can tolerate a small amount if I’ve been good……

Dairy and Lactose – who really wants to eat or drink cow flavoured stuff anyway?

But you know, it’s turning it around and going what can I eat now? And that’s how I’m going to try and approach Xmas – where once I would have eaten myself silly on Mince Pies, Fruit Cake and plum pudding, I’m taking the Pavlova with me….with fruit on the side and no cream thank you……

This year is for me – turning it around and making the negative into the positive…..I hope 2017 brings to you all that you dream of….

Fodmaps – or how to live on a restricted diet

I’ve been absence for months now and have been battling my digestive tract for over seven months now. I’ve had a stint in hospital, a scary three weeks of testing for the cancers that took my parents and grandfather, and then a restricted Fodmaps style diet that’s gone on and on.

In between I’ve passed another subject at Uni, moved house (packing and unpacking while sick is always so much harder), navigated the joys of working in an environment that turned really negative really fast, found out my son is gifted, worked full time…..

What is hard is that I might look well,  inside I’m battling constant nausea, I would tire out easily because I wasn’t able to eat a lot, and what I was able to keep down was not a nourishing diet, but rather a restricted diet of potatoes and corn biscuits that resemble cardboard.

So we moved house, and I found a dietitian who would work with me and my specialist in identifying my new intolerance – hence why I’ve been on a strict Fodmaps diet for the last six weeks, and I’m in week six and noticing now the big difference, now my body has had an opportunity to rid itself of the bad foods.

What I’ve learnt is read the food labels carefully and thoroughly – I no longer tolerate soy, yeast, gluten, lactose, onions…..you get the picture – I have to read and weigh up the different terms that food manufacturers use to hide ingredients. I also have to plan carefully what I eat. I make up large batches of pancakes so I can have two each morning for breakfast, I bake my own yeast and gluten free bread, but finding the time for that can be problematic. Being prepared is another fundamental skill, and knowing that I need to ask about what has gone into any food we buy hot from a restaurant is another joy.

But the fact I am waking up and not throwing up, or get to the end of the day and sitting there holding the toilet bowl, another plus. I’m feeling better and stronger now, but I’m careful with what goes into my body. I no longer take it for granted that my body will be able to cope if I do eat something outside the list of what I can eat. It’s now my new balancing act. One I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

 

Sixteen Years

Yesterday my cat of sixteen years went to the Vet for the last time. The decision to put her down was made after months of watching her deteriorate before my eyes. The final few days of her life were hard. (We live a long way away from Vets, so finding one that was open and within driving distance that was not going to stress her out, were all part of the decision making process.)

She was given to me by my long dead Father. So my memories of her as a kitten are mixed with the final memories of my own Father. (Just before he lost his sanity and the cancer in his brain consumed him forever). So this was no ordinary cat.

Athene – was a British blue shorthair. She was her own cat, one that tolerated humans for what they could provide, and preferred a solitary existence. She did though seek me out when I had my own bouts with tumours. She was there when I collapsed on the bathroom floor from a bursting ovary, she was there when I came home from hospital after both operations to remove the masses that took my uterus and remaining ovary. She would seek me out when the rest of the house had fallen to sleep and I was struggling to sleep. We shared many moments in the quiet depths of the night, together, her presence helping me through the sleepless night sweats that plagued me in those early days.

She was there when I met the person I would later marry, she managed to wiggle her way into his heart through sheer standoffishness. Athene made him like cats. It was his lap she would deign to sit upon for over a decade. She tolerated (barely) our child, I knew she was mellowing when she would sit still long enough for a tentative toddler hand to pat her. She never raised a claw against him, or tried to sleep in his cradle she just let him be.  She will always be his first cat.

Athene accepted the dog that was abandoned and we found. The sight of a large wolfhound trying to befriend her still makes me smile. Athene would have nothing to do with the dog, she was after all a solitary creature.

I miss her now, a day after she’s gone. On my nightly trips around the house seeking relief from my night sweats last night, she was not with me. Not giving me a quiet purr or a gentle head butt as I sat in the breeze of the backdoor. There is no Grey Ghost who would patrol the corridor and sit in my son’s bedroom guarding him.

She will be forever in our hearts.Pic_0512_118

 

 

A long time passes

Life flew by and I’m around again to the month that I find the hardest to deal with. You see my Mother died at the beginning of January and my Father at the end of January. Yes there was a few years between them, Mum died in 1998, Dad followed her five years later, but for me January is the worst kind of month.

It’s the month I dread for the rest of the eleven, because even though the years have flown by since I lost them, the grief is still there. It hides away, waiting for something or someone to remind you, to then flare up and you’ll find yourself (or I do) standing there in public with tears rolling down my cheeks. I find that hard black lump in my throat as I stand or sit or even lay there and really feel the loss that they have left behind.

I cuddle my partner, our child, our animals to try and salve this wound, and yet that isn’t enough, and will never really fill it up.  I’ve learnt to move on, to accept this grief as a small part of who I am, and adapt to the new paradigm that exists. And for folk who have never lost anyone in this permanent sort of way, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But for those of us who have, and will live a different life afterwards we do understand.

Catching up with friends, it is the ones who have lost something or someone (a relationship or a person) that understand it more. Who get where I’m coming from. Who accept the older woman with tears on her cheeks in public, mourning her loss in public.

A Pregnant Pause: What is the link between a 91 year old Australian, a Hospital by the River, and 43,000 Ethiopian women?

Source: A Pregnant Pause: What is the link between a 91 year old Australian, a Hospital by the River, and 43,000 Ethiopian women?

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