Who am I, as a blogger?

I’m not a mummy blogger, but I blog about being a mum. I’m not a foodie blogger, but I blog recipes. I’m not a news blogger, but I blog about news and current events. I’m not a religion blogger, but I blog about religion and Atheism. I’m not a linguistics or language blogger, but I blog about people’s poor use of English.

Maybe I’m really all of those things.

One thing you’ll – hopefully – never see me do is participate in things like ‘Wordless Wednesday’ or ‘Things I know Thursday’.

I really don’t believe in applying labels to myself and defining myself in such a limiting way. I don’t believe in being constrained to a topic. This is my blog, and I’ll be who I am. I’ll blog what I want to on any given day.

Yes, I’m a mother. Yes, I cook gluten free stuff. Yes, I have opinions on news. Yes, I’m an Atheist. Yes, I can spell. I don’t see why all of these things shouldn’t come through in my personal blog.

How do you feel about applying labels to yourself or your blog? Do you find it limiting? Or do you blog only for a specific purpose or message?

Gluten free chocolate hedgehog slice

Ingredients:

220g gluten free sweet biscuits, crushed (I used Freelicious tea biscuits)

130g butter

1 tablespoon cocoa

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon condensed milk

1/2 cup of dessicated coconut

 

Method:

Melt the butter over low heat, then mix in the cocoa. Remove from heat.

Add sugar, and mix until dissolved.

Stir in the egg, but be sure to wait until your mixture has cooled down a little bit, otherwise your egg will scramble!

Add condensed milk, dessicated coconut, and crushed biscuits, and mix well.

Press the whole shebang into a greased tray, and put it in the fridge to set.

Nom!

Gluten free Pumpkin Scones

I baked them in a muffin tray, because I’m awesome.

What’s that? Another way to get a toddler to unknowingly eat a vegetable? Brilliant!

Gluten free pumpkin scones

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups gluten free self-raising flour (as always, I’ve used White Wings)

Half a butternut pumpkin, steamed and mashed

55g butter at room temperature

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. (That’s about 400 F)

Beat the butter until it becomes soft, and then add the sugar and beat together well.

Mix in the egg, pumpkin, and milk.

Slowly add the flour, mixing or beating all the while.

Rather than bother with all that messy rolling out and cutting (this is a sticky dough) I just spooned the mix into mini muffin trays, which worked perfectly.

Bake for 15 minutes.

While still warm, gently tear in half and apply massive amounts of butter. Nom, preferably with tea!

Sometimes, just coping is all you can manage

Those who know me know that I love my kids. I love being a mum. But it doesn’t matter how much you love something; sometimes you’re going to have crap days. It’s ok to have a crap day. Or even a crap week. Heck, sometimes you even get crap months.

Sometimes the only thing going through your mind is the reminder that this is a phase, a stage, it will pass, they will grow up and be reasonable humans one day… Sometimes you’re not enjoying every moment; you’re tapping your foot, sighing, impatient for each moment to be over, to move on to the next moment, a good one.

One day, Evelyn will finish teething. One day, Elspeth will stop testing boundaries and my patience. The day is not today. But that’s ok. Today will pass.

Online shopping versus bricks and mortar stores

It’s no secret in Australia that a lot of businesses are struggling and ultimately failing in the face of competition from online retailers. Some recent victims include Allans and Billy Hyde, the Sandringham Hotel (Sydney), Nine Entertainment, and Collins Booksellers.

Aidan and I walked into Mindgames in the city the other day. It’s a great shop, with a lot of fantastic games. I love being able to go in there and talk to a staff member and browse shelves. I love that real games shops exist. But I also know that if I want to actually buy any of the more expensive games, I’ll probably end up buying them from Amazon.com. Even including shipping to Australia, it’s still cheaper to buy from the US.

The same goes for books. I love a good bookshop. Not that many seem to  exist anymore. I love browsing, I love coming across something unexpected, I love the feel and the smell of a bookshop. But I buy a lot of books from bookdepository.co.uk. They’re really cheap, they’ve got great customer service, and their shipping is free.

I am part of the problem for bricks and mortar retail. Like most Australians, price is my bottom dollar. A recent study showed that Australians are more concerned with price than with value – that is, we’ll buy something cheap even if we know it’s also crap. I don’t go that far; I still prefer a quality product if I can get it. But I prefer it at a reasonable price.

The fact is, Australian consumers are becoming aware of how much we have been overcharged for almost everything for many years. With no good reason, goods are considerably more expensive here than they are in many other countries. And with the internet so readily accessible, we are turning to overseas retailers and online shops in desperation. It is telling that many things are cheaper from overseas even with the freight costs factored in.

So as much as I’d love to support the shops, to ensure my own future ability to walk in and ask a staff member something, to browse, it just isn’t financially feasible. I need those shops to meet me halfway, to be competitive and accessible.

Cause and effect and a lack of consideration

Everything we do has consequences. I think most people grasp that, and generally try to take later possibilities into account when decision-making. But sometimes an ill-considered or spur-of-the-moment action has consequences far beyond what we might consider at the time, more serious and far-reaching.

Mike Tyson & Evander Holyfield
image from http://www.rhymeswithsnitch.com/

Yesterday at work, in the course of his duties, my husband was bitten by a woman. Ow, you might think, or, How weird. Ow indeed. Here is something you might not know: when a person is bitten by another person, the victim is immediately assumed at risk of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tetanus, and a range of other diseases transmitted by bodily fluids or close contact.

Here’s something else you might not know: the incubation period for some of these diseases is as long as sixty days.

That means that the victim – my husband – can’t be certain if he’s contracted a disease until a test is conducted at least sixty days from the date of the bite.

It follows that, for that sixty day period, he has to be exceedingly cautious around people if he should happen to get so much as a minor graze; any blood could potentially carry infection to somebody else. It also follows that we have to be cautious in our personal relations; a cut in his mouth would mean we couldn’t kiss, and obviously other precautions need to be taken too.

Fortunately in my husband’s case, as the bite did not actually break his skin, the risk is extremely minimal, and we are not overly worried about the long term. But the risk is still there, and we are still taking all possible precautions, preferring to be more careful than necessary rather than risk anything being transmitted to either myself or our daughters.

I very much doubt the biting woman considered the effects she might have on our family when she clamped her jaws around my husband’s wrist. She acted in passion, without consideration, and all of our family and friends now pay for her thoughtlessness with sixty days of pain-in-the-arse precautions, and the fortunately remote possibility of much more serious consequences. I can only be glad that her teeth weren’t sharper, or her jaw stronger. If she’d succeeded in her aim, we’d be in a right pickle and no mistake.

Respect for the enemy

I was watching Q&A the other night. It’s a show I watch rarely, but enjoy when I do. On the panel on this particular occasion were, along with others, Catherine Deveny and Archbishop Peter Jensen.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I agree with most of Catherine Deveny’s views on most social matters. She is in favour of gay marriage, she’s all for equal rights, feminism, and so on. And, of course, I disagree with virtually everything the Archbishop believes. God, the Bible, and all that goes with it.

So I was rather surprised to find myself respecting Jensen while getting very frustrated at Catherine while watching them ‘debate’ on Q&A. Jensen puts his views forward in an eloquent and dispassionate way, he says that he seeks out intelligent and unemotional discussion, he claims to want to know more facts about a great many contentious issues. He was also courteous towards the other panel members.

Catherine, on the other hand, laid on the sarcasm like it was going out of style, and employed rhetoric to a similar degree. She did not show herself willing to articulate her arguments, relying instead on mocking the points of others. She interrupted other speakers to push her agenda, and failed to keep her answers relevant to the questions. Despite holding very valid views, she utterly failed to articulate why she held them, or why anybody else should agree with her, which seems to me the entire point of a debate.

So, contrary as it might sound, I now have a great deal more respect for a prominent member of ‘the enemy’ than I do for a prominent person from ‘my side’. Fortunately I can see the difference between respect and like, so I don’t have a problem with this, but from comments I’ve read about the Q&A show and about these speakers specifically, other people see my stance as a sort of betrayal; it seems the public will not permit me to hold a positive view of one aspect of a person while maintaining a negative view of another aspect. Too bad, I say, that is how I feel!