It’s All Okay

I think the eldest one has picked up on a little of the stress I’ve been under lately.

Admittedly, never one to particularly like it when I point out his wrongdoings, especially when he is well aware that what he did was, well, fucking stupid, he does have an incredible knack of stopping the conversation before it gets out of hand and yelling begins.

Sometimes.

Other times he’s just pissed me off far to much for me to be able to accept his suggestions for calm.

Like the time he encouraged me to ChillaxThat backfiring, he know resorts to “calm your tits” which, as one can imagine, does approximately fuck all to quell my increasing rage.

Still, he does have a relatively relaxed nature about him, and although he often fails to say the right thing, it doesn’t stop him from trying to come up with ways in which he can deter me from addressing his dubious and often annoying behaviour.

Having already done the “I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to my brother, I don’t understand why it upsets you?” and it failing for him – possibly because he is beating his brother over the head with a packet of biscuits and calling him an idiot and, essentially, disrupting my peace – he’s onto something new.

“What’s that noise?!” I yell from the sanctity of my downstairs space, listening to some extraordinarily loud bangs and thumps and the maniacal laughter that only has you fearing for the safety of your entire living area.

“Nothing!” comes the reply.

Which we all know is complete and utter bullshit.

“Stop whatever is you are doing, RIGHT NOW!” I say, for I know this will end in someone getting hurt.

Likely one of them.

Possibly because they have pissed me off to a point of no return. Or as a result of whatever ‘nothing’ it is they are up to. Whichever comes first, or maybe just both.

“It’s okay!” yells Monkey Boy. “No one is hurt yet, so it’s all okay!”

Which, as one can imagine, fills me with great ease. I drag myself away from my work to face whatever it is I don’t want to face … which is the larger, heavier of the couch cushions being thrown at the middlest child by the eldest child, whom is getting increasingly pissed off because middlest child keeps jumping out of the way.

I put a stop to it before anything is defenestrated; and it’s looking much more likely to be a child than a cushion.

“Can I have a biscuit?” asks Monkey Boy.

“You can take some for lunch, but not now,” is my terribly sensible reply.

“Ohh, look, it’s twelve-O’clock” says Monkey Boy, reaching in, taking one of my favourite biscuits and shoving it in his gob before I can do much about it.

“I love you, Mum,” he says, after first swallowing his illegally pilfered snack.

“Must you be naughty?” I enquire.

Yes, yes, I realise that is an extremely dumb question.

“But I said ‘I love you’, so that makes it okay,” he explains.

And off he goes, to school, before I can coordinate my thoughts.

A little bit of feedback for Telstra

As you are all well aware, I was without an Internet service or home/land line in my new abode for very close to three months.

This was, as I’ve already stated, not a great deal of fun-ness for anyone, and of considerable stress, especially when one is doing their damndest to run an online business and manage two blogs, which, funnily enough, all require stable Internet access.

Anyhoo, I’ve had my whinge and bitch about that several times now, but something I was asked continuously throughout the process, with every interaction I had with someone at Telstra whether it by via their live chat, over the phone, me calling them, them calling me, Twitter, Facebook, in store etc was “Can you please let us know how we went.”

Once sorted and back online, indeedy I declared “Damn right I will!”

Except, at least in the online options for providing feedback, a ‘click the box’ kind of survey, there was only one question – ONE – and that was “Based on your experience with Telstra, would you recommend us to your family or friends?”

(Or something close to that, apologies if I didn’t get it word for word.)

There was also an option to provide a very short reason as to why.

I gave them a 5 out of 10 and a short response explaining my reasons.

I’m not satisfied, however, with the short response … because I felt there was much more to it than that, many areas where they could improve, half the areas in which they were pretty bloody good, and half that just pissed me off and frustrated me.

I literally could have given them up on the 8, 9 or 10 region for some bits, cos they were great, and in other areas, they sucked SO BAD and got a one or two.

So I devised my own feedback questionnaire for them. It goes like this:

Communication – this got a 5

Let me explain – because, initially, they scored a big fat 10.

New estate, no infrastructure to connect Internet to, and phone calls every single week to let me know that “there is no NBN infrastructure in your area yet, m’am”. Oh, and the promise that I would receive a phone call as soon as it was good to go.

Every. Single. Week. A phone call to tell me there was no infrastructure. Which was lovely, although, really, I already new this, as I had no Internet, remember? And was in regular communication with the site developers who were also keeping us updated.

As soon as I received word – not from Telstra, but from the developers, that it was all ready for connection … communication from Telstra stopped. Zip. Zero. Nuthin’

They got a zero for that.

Saying the Right Thing - this is up there as a 9 … to a point

As one can imagine, frustration was building at this end. Whomever wrote the scripts for the call centres knew what they were doing. Those guys on the end of the phone really know what to say when someone is about to lose their shit in frustration.

They could stop a verbal rampage before it began.

Until, of course, after almost weekly hearing “I’m sorry for your inconvenience, m’am” and “I understand your frustration” every single week, several times a week in some cases, via the phone, live chat and, eventually, social media, it started to wear thin.

I did pull up me seventh – or was it eighth? – case manager on this and asked him “Really? Are you really sorry?”

Then asked him how he could possibly understand my frustration when he had no frigging clue as to what the hell I was dealing with? And that no one had ever asked me, so how could any of them really understand?

Full credit to him, he gave it a good go.

I did end up saying “Look, I’m sorry, but please do not say sorry again. It’s making me angry. I understand it is in your script to say this, but please just don’t any more.”

I swear I heard a frantic shuffling of pages, searching for where in the script you handle this kind of comeback, whilst he stated “No, m’am. We do not have a script.”

Bullshit. And I hate being lied to. I just didn’t want any more ‘sorry’. I wanted something done.

Doing What They Say – this is where they sucked. About a 1. Cos I’m feeling generous.

As I alluded to earlier, once the ability for a connection was ready to establish, communication stopped.

After waiting a few days for the promised phone call, I rang them to tell them we had the infrastructure and could we please organise a connection.

“Let me check for you, m’am” said Case Manager Number 37 (or thereabouts). “I’m please to advise you that the NBN is now ready in your area and we can go ahead and organise a connection.”

“Yes,” I say. “I’m ringing you to tell you that because you were supposed to ring me and didn’t.”

I am then advised someone will call me to discuss plans. I have already researched plans and know exactly what I want. Apparently, this is not acceptable and I am promised a phone call “within a week”. I sigh, because apparently that’s “just how it works” although I have absolutely ZERO clue as to why.

It does not make sense and the only answer I can get to my “Why can’t I just organise it now that I’m talking to you?” is “Because you will receive a phone call within a week.”

This is not really an answer.

Anyhoo, I wait the week. Begrudgingly and frustratedly.

In a strange twist of events, the phone call never comes. Not really a strange twist. Just frigging typical, I guess.

I say “fuck this shit” and ring the Just Fucking Connect me number – although, really, it’s not that, it’s the main number that all we mere mortals must go through to organise a connection.

I am now required to wait an additional TWO WEEKS before someone comes out to hook me up. Which is precisely the reason I did not wait for their promised phone call any longer.

So I could get the frigging thing connected sooner.

Meanwhile … I had been advised to purchase a wireless dongle, and that someone, somewhere, could add data to it when needed. I was reimbursed for the cost, but no one, anywhere, could add data when I needed it. It was No One’s department, but No One had obviously gone on long service leave or topped themselves, because it just wasn’t happening.

I was, however, promised reimbursements for the additional costs I incurred. Except that this was also No One’s department and no one else had the means, capacity or authority to do it.

ARGH!

In this time, I’m also being conscious of not running up costs, and frequenting cafes and libraries to do work, and stressing myself out even more.

The Complaints Process

The most frustrating thing of all was that I had to turn to social media to get anything resolved.

Of course, the social media team promised me they’d have my Case Manager (I’m not sure which one) call me – missing the point that the last one I’d spoken to was unable to explain not only why I had to wait an additional week for my kit to be delivered, but also why it had not shown up when I was told it would. I did not want to speak to my Case Manager. I wanted to speak to someone who could do something!

A day later, I got a call from the Complaints Department, the result of my somewhat restrained social media outburst.

Within ten minutes, I had a sensible, acceptable answer to at least one of the delays (I’d asked about 56 of my case managers the question and all I got was “because it will be delivered next Tuesday”), reimbursement, more data added for me to use.

Why the hell is this department NOT front line? Seriously?

Of course, they get a 10 for resolving it so quickly and easily and painlessly.

I use these words somewhat facetiously, for it was near on three months (i.e. not quick), extremely frustrating and painful to get to this point.

On top of that, I LOATHE turning to social media to get a result for anything. I find it low, I find it uncomfortable, and I find it extremely distressing. It is not in my nature to do this and I hated that I felt I had no alternative.

I also feel for those who won’t take that step, or who don’t have the means to.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

The other thing that bothered me was that in all of this, all the times I could have lost my ‘nana and yelled, screamed, sworn, threatened and basically had the screaming tantrum that I wanted to, I respected that the person on the other end was just doing their job, that they had probably already been abused, sworn at, and tantrummed at already, and didn’t really deserve it.

Just doing their job. And a tough one, I imagine.

I also took great care, and put not only myself, but my family, including the teenager and his homework needs, out by not abusing the fact that I was being given “free data” to help me out till it was all sorted.

It was frigging hard, but I went out of my way, I put myself through additional stress so that I didn’t abuse the system and didn’t cost Telstra the in excess of a thousand dollars that I could have.

I kept it under $400 – cos I’m nice like that.

Yet I still had to turn to social media and get very cross.

That’s really not okay.

All I learnt from it is to not be nice, to abuse the system, and have a screaming, raving, highly public tantrum to get anywhere.

That sucks.

It’s also the very thing I’m trying to teach my kids not to do; that tantrums don’t get you what you want.

Apparently, that’s shit and a tantrum will get you everything.

Which sucks even more :(

Anyhoo, that’s feedback for you, Telstra. I hope it is of some value and I really, really, hope you start to recognise not those that are being spoilt arsefaces on social media, but give some credit to those who are trying to do the right thing.

If I’d know, I would have had my tantrum two months earlier. The upshot of my being nice and compassionate is a loss of income, a shitload of stress, and a rather unpleasant environment at home.

Maybe take a bit of a look, yeah?

Sorted

Anyhoo, I’m not back online and connected, as you all know.

I also got a new camera for my birthday (the day I was SUPPOSED to be completely connected, but someone fucked up somewhere, and it didn’t happen on that day …so tantrum, social media, tears etc …) and I want to do some vids for You Tube for Diary and for Real Mums … so I thought giving Telstra feedback via video was a good test to see how the camera went.

What do you think?

10 More Excuses for Not Doing Homework

The homework issue is something that has been a bone of contention in this household for like, ever.

Part of it I put down to the fact that some bright spark determined that homework was a ‘bad’ thing and of ‘no benefit’ to primary school children, and what with our government departments seemingly incapable of considering the idea that perhaps many things are not single-factorial and that there are many other influences and impacts that any given ‘thing’ has, the went all chummy with the white middle class how raise concerns over all manner of things (including the word ‘black’ as it relates to sheep) and instigated homework policies in primary schools.

More to the point, the ‘homework policies’ were more along the lines of ‘no homework policies’ and as a result, a plethora of families with high school students are having the persistent Homework Battle.

In this household (and, I’m sure, plenty of others) we are also blessed with the Challenging Child who has all manner of Homework Adversities and things I won’t go into detail about just now (for his benefit).

Although he is, and always has, done ‘well’ at school, even ‘really, really great’, he is not doing what he is actually capable of. Which I realise is horrifically normally and I’m not complaining nor am I being all upset and shit about it (although I will admit, it frustrates the fuck out of me at times).

He even obtained the Academic Achievement Award for his class at the end of Semester 1 this year for ‘outstanding effort across all subjects’.

Proud, yes, but I also know he could do WAY better.

Whatevs.

It was really not a massive surprise, albeit anger-inducing, when I discovered he was a week overdue with a take home task. Words were had. Calm, contained words, and the opportunity for suitable explanation as to why it was not completed and handed in on time.

More to the point, why it was still not completed and handed in, more than a week later, and after a daily query from me as to its lack of being done.

Most of the excuses revolved around his ‘partner’, for it was a partner-involving-task.

Now eight days overdue and heading into the weekend, I revoked his telephone privileges.

By which I mean, he had to hand his phone over to me until he took responsibility for ensuring it was completed – whether this was him doing it on his own, or calling his partner and arranging a time to ensure it was completed before school on Monday, I did not care. Action needed to be taken.

Of course, I also took full advantage of having his phone, and asked Siri (much to Monkey Boy’s disgust) what excuse he had for not doing his homework.

Disappointed, Siri! I did expect some sort of humorous or random response. Instead, she merely presented me with a list of websites that were along the lines of the 10 best excuses for not doing homework. All of which were very boring, and all of which I had already presented to Monkey Boy.

He stomped off, completed the task in something like 15 minutes, refused to show me (so we’ll see how he actually did once he actually hands it in) and then demanded his phone back. I refused, based solely on two reasons:

  1. the grumpy arse mood he was still in, which was really getting on my nerves
  2. he still had not presented me with a valid reason as to why it had not been done in the first place

He would have it back when he could come up with a list of ten excuses for me … and he did:

  1. My anonymous friend who I was doing my homework with, her hard drive malfunctioned and deleted certain items from her USB and SD card

Interestingly, only the homework task vanished and had to be done again …

2. I was worried about the Ukranians who are being pushed out of their homes by Russian seperatists

Not bad … better if he really was worried.

3. Annoyed by an annoying mother and her passive-aggressive requests

Not sure who he is referring to here.

4. You will only be given to more excuses, I’m sick of doing this and I just want my phone back.

Keep going, matey …

5. We didn’t get a new TV

We did, and I’m not sure how it’s relevant, so we’re on track … this was the point of his new task. Nice work.

6. [said in robotic voice] Calculating excuses. Cannot format excuse. Brain overheating.

It’s 30 degrees C outside, he’s wearing long, flannel pyjamas, a woollen beanie and socks, lying on the floor, complaining about how he is hot and his brain is overheating and malfuntioning.

7. I have to put the lemon juice back in the fridge and get my brother a drink of water.

He did. Because he was getting really annoying.

8. My brother is wearing my hat.

Indeed he was.

9. I’m not doing my homework until you give me my phone back.

Potential to be stuck in an infinite loop.

10. I was too busy trying to work out some really good excuses for not doing my homework.

Thank you! At least something I asked for is being done …

The Splendorous, Christmasius Giftorium

Although I am really most adverse to using the C word this early in the year, for it verily fills me with overwhelm and adds a veritable amount of ‘stuff’ to my To Do List, I shall make an exception for the moment.

Mostly because I had the most splendiforous opportunity to attend the opening of the Myer Giftorium at Myer (obviously) in the Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne. Level Six to be precise,which is also where Santa generally makes his Magical Kingdom at a slightly more reasonable time of the year, although still far too early for Christmas in my opinion.

Look, I know Santa has his damned list, but so do I, and my list simply does not cater for Christmas so early in the year.

Anyhoo, most delighted was I, mostly, to be presented with an opportunity to actually leave the house and go out in public – or, at least a public that wasn’t school and/or grocery shopping related, that I managed to spill my coffee all over myself and was forced to shower well before my routine allows for.

As a result, I was partially dressed during the Breakfast Festival, and ended up with yogurt on one of the few clean tops I had, and the one that I had chosen for the outing. Worse, it was a flavour of yogurt I dislike, so was not able to lick it off my top myself. Thankfully, I didn’t notice it for some time, by which stage I was able to flake it off, and cover it with the final layer of clothing I opted for for the day.

Good old Melbourne and its crazy, unpredictable, and capricious weather.

Dumped Dropped the kids off at school and made my way into the venue via public transport, which is always an experience. A friend of mine catches the tram daily and updates me from time to time about the deliciously gorgeous men she encounters on her travels. I, instead, get the males who prefer to pick their noses in public. Such is the diversity of our lives … *sigh*

Anyhoo, This event was the official launch and opening of the MYER Christmas Giftorium, which isn’t just ‘more shops’ but has been set up in such a way as to provide a one stop area for all your Christmas needs. Including designated areas for kids’ stuff, magic stuff, stuff for Miracle Mums, Dapper Dads, Groovy Grams and, well, lots of stuff.

Toys and tech stuff for big kids and small, stocking fillers – and stockings – practical gifts, fun gifts, really, really nice gifts!, and lots more. It is, for want of a better description, a very good selection of store sections and suitable ideas for gifts, all located in one area. You could, I guess depending on whom you are required to purchase for, head in, wander around one floor, and gather all you need.

MC-03

INCLUDING all your Christmas stuff like things to decorate the tree with, or even a tree should you so require one.

There is also a certified Giftician who is able to assist you with the selection and purchasing of gifts. There is a Same Day Elf Delivery Service, also, which means i fyou live and work within a 2km radius of either Myer Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or Perth you will have your gifts delivered by a fleet of uniformed elves.

How cool is that!?

The concept is designed to provide not just a shopping day, but an experience, complete with entertainers and more.MG-01

What with being all special and shit, we got to go home with a gift or two; a personalised Little Miss (well, I got a Little Miss, there are also Mr Mens available) framed poster, and a colour-customised Sodastream Drink Maker – both of which were delivered with a smile :)

The customised Mr Men/Little Miss  framed posters are only available at the Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane stores, and the world first Sodastream PLAY will be showcased in the Melbourne store, and offer customers to customise their Drink Maker, too. T’was fun.

I was presented with a Little Miss Hug, which is far more like me, although many did assume I would just be receiving the Little Miss Trouble or Little Miss Naughty. I can’t imagine what put that thought in their heads …

MG-04

A Christmas-themed lolly buffet was set up for our perusal and tasting, and, unlike some bloggers who did the whole “Can I have two bags, because I have two kids?” – which, really, is like saying “Can I have one for my sister?” and what you really mean is “I want two because I like lollies, but don’t want to look greedy” – I just got the one bag to fill with lollies. My intention was honourable; I intended to go home, brag about my day to my kids, and randomly throw a lolly or two between them and watch them fight for it.

I’m fun like that.

(As it turns out, they buggered off, and Grumpy Pants and I ate them all, which was much more fun!)

MG-05

Best of all, I got to catch up with some of my bloggy buddies, whom I rarely get to see outside of the cyber world.

What with being an official media event, it was not difficult to distinguish the journalists from the bloggers.

The bloggers *ahem* where the ones who called the entertainers over to say not “can we have a picture with you?”, but rather “can you take our photo?”

Typical!

MC-02

Me with Renee from Bra Queen, Heather from Inspiring Mums, Tracey from Melbourne Mamma, and Christie from Kids Business

It was a great day (and big thank you to Kids Business for inviting me along :))

Official launch celebrations of the Giftorium will take place on Saturday the 8th of November, 2014 with activities in all Myer stores across Australia and you can find out more about the Myer Giftorium and all it offers at http://www.myer.com.au/shop/mystore/gifts/shop-the-giftorium

And I promise I’ll try to limit my Christmas talk until a more appropriate time of the year …

Merci, Cafeteria Luis

Now I’m back on line and relatively up to date (hahahahaha – no, not really .. some random keeps adding to my damned To Do List when I’m not looking … I suspect it may be Brian the Brain … anyhoo …) I just wanted to take a moment to say a Thank You.

During my nearly three-month Internet void, I was able to meet slightly  more than the bare minimum of my work requirements, commitments and other because of a wonderful business, a delightful little French cafe along Puckle Street in Moonee Ponds, called Cafeteria Luis.

(Sounds like Cafeteria Willy, hahahahahhaha, like doodle, according to my six-year-old. Well, of course it does … *sigh*)

Not only do they make a frigging awesome coffee – among the best in that strip which hosts something like 4 million other cafes and coffee shops – they also have THE BEST croque monsieur ever.

Their brioche is frigging awesome too … and these three things, and their WiFi, were what sustained me for this time I was without connection.

Mostly, however, on top of their awesome coffee, fab food, and WiFi, their service and tolerance of me taking up a seat at their tables for hours on end was just … well, I can’t thank them enough for putting up with me and bringing me sustenance.

Service got to the point where I wandered in one day, only to find all “my” tables were overtaken, so I ordered my latte and meal and sat outside. It was more than a little chilly and I, of course, had forgotten my jacket.

*sigh*

The owner – THE OWNER – came out, told me the tables inside were now free, carried in my coffee and set me up at a table that provided the most quiet and opportunity to work in peace. In the process, he spilt my coffee and, despite my protests, went and made me a new one.

All the staff are lovely and many speak with accents as delicious as the food.

So to you, Cafeteria Luis, I say “merci”. Many, many, many mercis.

It is appreciated x

Family Day plus One

A visit from a friend of Monkey Boy’s turned into a weekend long stay which basically afforded just a touch more oestrogen in the household, and having something like little to no effect on the testosterone that wafts though the house like so many of the farts delivered by testosterone fuelled persons who live in the house.

Essentially, I had a girl about to watch Muriel’s Wedding (my all time favourite movie ever) with. Although this didn’t stop boy-type people from sitting on the couch with us and asking dumb questions and bagging ABBA songs so much that one was nearly defenestrated.

Boy type person, not ABBA song.

So it was that she tagged along with us on our no-where-near-often-enough Family Day.

A day trip to Hanging Rock, which would have had us there sooner,except for the fact that teenagers like sleep and they deigned to grace us with their presence just before lunchtime. Which was nice of them, really.

Mostly, we chose that place as by the time they got their shit together it was a bit late to head off to some of our other, usual places.

Still, it was a great day and fulfilled my great need for some sort of fun, physical activity, given the school holidays tend to deprive me of my semi-regular morning walks and most of my energy is put into getting children to do stuff. Like, you know … move …

A picnic was also organised for the afternoon, and by the time we got there, with much surliness from the tweenager, who is doing fabulous work at practising being a teenager, the relentless chatter, with alternate tantrums over who-knows-what from the six year old and, well, teenagers being all teenagery, I was well and truly ready to lose them at some point.Loading

It was close at times, but I think they followed their own scent back to the car and climbed in before we could take off. I also think they managed to wipe out half the native flora and fauna with their scent, just quietly. All in all, we had fun, climbed stuff, took a billionty and seven photos and head off home, delivering friend to her house just before bedtime, and in the hope that her parents still remembered her.

I did worry that they may have thought we’d kidnapped her for a while there.  

If The Dress Fits

Although still devoid of that pair of shoes I was looking for a week ago have not yet been acquired, and, in the process of not finding them, my friend accidentally called me a “‘ho” then proceeded to suggest that “if the shoe fits” … and ..

Wait a minute!

think it was an accident!

Anyway, the point is obviously the shoe – or shoes as the case may be – did not fit, therefore it is highly unlikely I am a ho.

So, humph!

Tonight was the pre-awards cocktail party for the AusMumpreneur awards, for which I was asked along as VIP and Awards Judge.

T’was, indeed, a very special thing to be a part of and I wanted to look nice for my appearance. I even had a dress picked out, although it was really designed for someone approximately 7-foot, 9 inches tall and just a teensy bit long for my whopping 5-foot, 2-inches. A bit of racing around, asking for help (eeep!) and it was adequately re-lengthened so that the risk of my ending up, face down in the dirt, legs akimbo, bottom hem of the dress relocated somewhere up around my earlobes was significantly reduced.

Although no guarantees …

I donned my frock, did the very careful descent down the stairs and queried the family … “Does this look okay?”

To which they all, facing the television, eyes fixed, backs of heads in my direction, stated “Yep”.

*sigh*

I stood in front of them, much to their chagrin, and demanded that someone take a photo so I could at least see for myself (no full length mirrors in this house – really must do something about that) … with much effort and complaining, Monkey Boy obliged.

Stating, for added effect “You look like Queen of the Damned” which, from him, could very well have been highly complimentary.

amp-01-tile

After mingling, networking, dripping food down my front, having half a glass of iced water tipped down my cleavage (it was deliberate, an attempt by a fellow guest to prevent the food I’d just dropped on my frock from staining), posing for a few shots and channelling my inner Angelina Jolie (that photo is on Instagram – *sigh*) I managed to successfully navigate the night with approximately zero bum-flashing, face-to-floor kind of action.

This, indeed, was a feat in itself and I am most proud of this achievement.

Huge thanks to Peace and Katy for not only allowing me, but asking me to be a part of this auspicious occasion and apologies for anything I may or may not have done. Possibly for saying ‘fuck’ a few too many times.

It was a great night, and there is some great talent among the business owners who were also there, especially those that had actually been nominated for the Awards!

(Am also considering wearing the frock for the school morning mayhem, just so the kids remember I am somewhat akin to the Queen of the Damned, if not THE Queen of the Damned and they actually do what they’re supposed to do without my killing them. Or worse, yelling a lot!)

Reading English Good, Fuckit

It is a little know fact, because I don’t really feel the need to go on about it, although I realise that is a little contradictory right now … I’m just trying to set the scene … work with me here, okay?

Anyhoo, it is a little known fact that I volunteer some of my Spare Time (HA!) to work with children whom require additional assistance with their reading. To bring them up to “standard” or “average” or “what’s expected” or whatever.

Loving reading and devouring words like others devour chocolate I am constantly intrigued and absorbed in how they learn to read, how they decipher the words, how the interpret things, and even how they form the sounds, particularly those children for whom English is their second language.

Reading is something that is not a problem in my household, with my kids. Unless, of course, you count the first year of school and the absolute utter resistance to doing the evening reader, despite reading being something we do and have done with all three kids since the day they were born, every single night.

That, and that we often have to go in at very late hours and say “Turn the bloody light off and go to sleep!”

I never thought I’d ever tell my kids to stop reading, but there you go.

Anyhoo, fascinated and all the rest of it I am with the whole process of reading and the various hurdles-cum-milestone the kids face and how they overcome them. LOVE it.

Relatively speaking, it does make reading with my youngest, a native-English speaker and with considerable exposure to books (also: see above comment in relation to first year of school and the reader book) somewhat easier.

Whilst resistant at times, and I mostly put this down to Because He Can Be and just a normal part of development for a f/6 year old, he does well and has recently gone up a level in his school reader books.

This has given him a bit of a motivational kick, and, being a higher level book, has introduced him to the need to decipher words he has not yet encountered in previous reader books.

Words like “what” and “why” and “fence” and such like.

The fence was a bit of a hurdle (pardon the pun) but he frowned in concentration, and looked at it and made the “fffffff” sound, and looked at it some more, and said “fffff” again, frowned a little more and said “fuck”.

Not in an “I’m seriously pissed off with this” kind of way.

More in a “the word starts with the ‘f’ sound and there is a c in there which makes a ‘k’ sound, so all I can work out with my developing brain is ‘fuck'” kind of way.

It made sense to me.

However, it was the sheer innocence of the situation that saw me explode with mirth.

Whilst not hesitating at other times to calmly walk up to me and say “My brudders just said ‘fuck'”, this time, he covered his mouth in shock, and looked at me, wide eyed and horrified.

“I didn’t know I said that, Mum. I didn’t know I said that noise!”

Unfortunately, this caused some level of asphyxia as the levels of mirth I was already experiencing went up a notch or twenty seven.

Tempted to send him off to school with is new word, I didn’t really have time for the principal’s office so I helped him with a few tips about letter sounds and pronunciation.

I’m good like that.

Celebrity Chefs and the Problem with Dieticians

Just a warning … I have my Cranky Pants on.

My They’ve Crawled Right Up My Vagina Cranky Pants.

My I’m So Angry Right Now I’m Shaking Cranky Pants.

Cos I’m frigging furious (although, if I stop and think about it, I still have no idea why this makes me so angry, but it does. Passionately so. Possibly because I Give A Fuck about my community and the people I live with and around, as opposed to just making money out of sprouting some bullshit.)

Oh, and before I carry on, my pants are also my Could Contain Many Swears Cranky Pants.

Have I mentioned how angry I am?

Celebrity Chefs

You see, some ‘celebrity’ of the ‘chef’ variety, whom I refuse to name or link to, because I don’t want to inadvertently send the misinformation to someone who reads it, thinks it’s right and follows it – I have morals and ethics and don’t want to inadvertently put the life of anyone else in danger … anyhoo, some celebrity chef has up and not only vehemently promoted the Paleo diet as being THE thing that will set this country right, but has also vehemently and dangerously (in my opinion) slandered the work of the Heart Foundation and various others.

You know the Paleo Diet, right? The one that cavemen used to follow some lots of millions of years ago, which is why they had no issue with obesity or anything.

It couldn’t possibly have been their environment, levels of activity, way of living or anything else like that that may have contributed to their weight.

I don’t mean to bag it entirely; the concept behind it is not all bad. It is essentially getting back to the basics of lean meats, lots of vegies … a good mix of proteins, carbs and fats.

It includes such recipes as Fried Fish Sticks, casseroles and both Banana Choc Chip Pancakes and Choc Raspberry Hamantaschen.

I’m fairly sure the cavemen had access to this kind of vocabulary, along with the ingredients to make such things. Ingredients like frozen raspberries and tinned coconut milk.

It’s the tinned stuff that I love … given the history of evolution and all, with the Bronze Age happening some 5300 or more years ago (3300 BC) and the Iron happening roughly 200 years after that, and still well over 4000 years ago, and no real reference to a Tin Age. Although, given the way a vast majority of our current population eat, I’m fairly confident we could refer to this current age as the tin age.

Casserole dishes were just lying around, next to the freezers (for storing your frozen berries) and I don’t even know what Hamantaschen is, back in the good old caveman days of 30,000 BC.

I’m being narky now. Sorry. It’s the sand in my vagina making me cranky.

Oh, and the fact that celebrity chefs are using their status to promote really, really unhealthy ideals which is essentially Yet Another Fad that will soon make way for something else just as bad. I also really abhor the discreditation of organisations such as the Heart Foundation, and of dieticians in general.

To be fair, it’s really only one chef. There are others that are doing awesome things, like Jamie Oliver and his food revolution. He’s a good bloke. My only issue with him is he is still catering to those who have a vague idea of how to cook, not those who are relatively clueless – and it’s all about the food. But still, AWESOMENESS!

Also, again, the idea and the reasoning behind a Paleo-style eating plan is not all bad. It’s what the weight loss industry and a billionty others whom have jumped on this bandwagon that have twisted the idea and made it something that it actually isn’t, cashing in on it and preying on the desires of the population that make me cross.

The main issue is, chefs – celebrity or otherwise – are neither nutritionists nor dieticians. They DO cover quite a bit of nutrition when they’re doing their apprenticeship. Ironically, the nutrition elements they cover are those that are recommended by the dieticians that this particular chef is dissing.

(Also, ironically, the basic gist of the Paloe eating plan (as opposed to the much promoted Paleo Diets) is pretty close to that which dieticians and organisations like the Heart Foundation promote. Heh.)

They touch on nutrition, absolutely, and they need to. Their focus however is on the look, taste and texture of food. They put their souls into providing a meal that you will remember and they work damned hard, under a lot of pressure to create something awesome.

They aren’t about how ‘good’ the meal is from a nutritional or weight perspective, but on the enjoyment and sensory experience of the meal.

Nutrition, whilst important to them, is secondary to the end goal.

They spend slightly less time (even more so now, because the whole cookery course is being dumbed down considerably and that, too, is making me cross, but is for another post) completing their course than a dietician does but cover an entirely different element of food than a dietician does.

Chefs, whilst working with food, are not terribly well educated in the physiological, biological, cellular, or metabolic aspects of food. They touch on digestion, because they do need to be aware of allergies and intolerances and things, but don’t have very detailed understanding of it. Enough to know how not to kill someone or cause them pain, but generally speaking, not a lot beyond that.

Essentially – the celebrity status of a chef, or any other profession if you think about it, is merely a platform from which one can influence the masses under the guise of having some level of credibility in that field.

I have absolutely no doubt this dude is a great chef, for all the things that a chef stands for. What I do doubt is his deep understanding of the body’s physiology and metabolism when it comes to nutrition. He is, at the risk of simplifying it, merely sprouting his own agenda, his own beliefs (which he is MORE than entitled to, I’m not challenging or having a go at his own, personal lifestyle choices – if it works for him, and it makes him feel good, then go for it, I say!) from a position of relative power.

Dieticians

Dieticians, on the other hand, do a LOT of research into how food and nutrition works in and on the body. Many also learn to cook, or have a greater understanding of cooking and preparation of foods than many of we mere mortals do, but at a completely different level and from a completely perspective. They are not about touching on the senses as a priority (although are greatly understanding of the need for food to look and taste good etc), and are more about how efficient and beneficial the food you consume is to your body, how it is metabolised and stored, how it affects your health and wellbeing and all those sorts of things.

Personally, I believe food and it’s consumption affects your health and wellbeing from a multitude of factors; not merely how good it tastes, nor merely from the perspective of what it does in and to your body. I see it as a multifactoral contributor that is also reliant and/or dependant on other factors and circumstances. But more on that another time …

The Problem with Dieticians

With all their knowledge and understanding of how food works in and on the body, and the consequent effects of this on the health of the body (and, in some cases, mind) they tend to be a little removed from reality. Although with the best of intentions, and a desire to improve health and wellbeing, and reduce the incidence of diet related diseases, recommendations and suggestions can often be difficult to meet in the real world, of busy lives and everything else going on in our lives.

This, in my opinion, isn’t the biggest problem with dieticians, although it is one worth mentioning. No, the main problem is that dieticians have been sticking to the same recommendations, with a few minor alterations over the decades, reflecting changes that constantly occur in society, for quite some time. A long time. Possibly since the days of the cavemen.

And therein lies the problem. Where is the marketing potential in a non-fad?

The recommendations are based on long-term ways of life, not on a quick fix, a rapid weight loss (because it’s ALL about your weight and not how you feel, nor what you are comfortably capable of doing), vanity, money, sales, looking good, more sales and more money and moving onto the next quick-fix, short-term, lets make lots of sales kind of ideal.

Where is the sexy in “live your life like this for long term health and happiness”? What’s fun about that?

People don’t want to hear about how things will take years to achieve by simply making them a part of your lifestyle. They want it NOW, damnit! NOW!

The consequences of the “NOW, damit!”, especially long-term, are of no consequence to them – so long as they can lose weight by next Tuesday, they’ll be fine.

That they could live a lifestyle, including eating plans as recommended by people who have a fundamental understanding of how food affects the body from a nutritional perspective, that would prevent them from getting to this state that they feel they need to address RIGHT NOW is lost in the morass of marketing and advertising, and celebrities giving you their opinion because they have some books to sell.

Dieticians and those who promote long-term, lifestyle kinds of ways of living don’t have the marketing power behind them, sadly, to make a difference.

Seriously, who would buy the book that touted “Five years to the most perfect you!”? – which would, if it were genuine, undoubtedly include all the aspects that contributed to a healthy you, not just the food element, and also include the multitude of ways that food affects your health and wellbeing – and ALL the elements of your health and wellbeing.

Before I sign off …

If anyone wants to get on the bandwagon about weight or fat acceptance or blah, go back and re-read. This is NOT a post about being overweight, or diets or anything like that.

It is NOT suggesting being ‘fat’ is ‘bad’ or condemning anyone for their lifestyle choices.

It is a post about manipulation of industries, of opportunism. It is about taking something that is fundamentally sensible and taking it to a level that is ridiculous and dangerous and opening itself to ridicule. Yes, I had a go at tinned produce for a Paleo diet, because whilst the “Paleo way of living” has been essentially raped and turned into a money making, short-term, scheme and nothing more than a fad diet … whilst it is a lifestyle for many, it – along with numerous other lifestyle choices – has been bastardised to become nothing more than a quick fix ‘diet’ insofar as the broader population is concerned.

It is the ‘diets’ and not the lifestyles that are made public, thus it discredits not only the basics of the concept, it gives a false idea of what everything is.

There, I feel much better now I’ve got that off my chest …

Routine Excitement and Anxiety

It’s Back to School Day!

And I, for one, am very excited about being able to get back into a routine of sorts.

HA!

No, really, I am. Although, I am profoundly aware that my ‘routine’ often comes with a side of chaos, supe rsized, and a plethora of planning problems. Not that I have a problem with planning. Planning has more of a problem with me.

Also, Godzilla had to be at school two hours before usual school starting time, so he may head off on a very long bus trip and school camp.

With much excitement and anxiety last night, he emerged from his bedroom some three times, triple checking everything, worrying about setting his alarm, worrying about not waking up when his alarm goes off and all the other sorts of worrying, and being over excited, that kids do on the night before they go away on school camp for a week.

As a result, and despite my limited sleep the previous few nights and consequent fatigue, I woke every hour. Excited, anxious or what, I have no idea. The point was, I had bugger all sleep.

Except I was very much asleep when a nose was pushed firmly against mine at some hour that clearly displayed nighttime when one looked out a window.

I opened my eyes, startled, to the piercing blue eyes a mere centimetre and a half from mine. Although, really, being that close, I was unable to adequately decipher if they were actually the blue eyeballs of my offspring, or some weird, blurry smear of something blue.

That may also have been contributed to by my not yet being awake.

“I made your coffee,” he tells me, very much awake and – urgh! – cheerful for the, what … 6.04a.m. that the clock alerted me to.

Getting up out of bed, or, technically, rolling over and somehow managing to remain upright as my feet landed on the floor beside the bed, I struggled into a pair of pyjama bottoms, staggered down the stairs, and successfully got coffee into a mug. Ditto the milk.

Getting coffee into my mouth was a bit of an issue, but I managed eventually.

After a mouthful or seven, I peered at the clock, still featuring a slight blur around the numbers, and uttered something along the lines of my not actually being required to be up quite then.

Excitement, however, was rife in the child-whose-parentage-I-was-dubious-of (neither his father/my husband and I have a remote like of mornings) and he was consecutively bouncing and pacing and making me feel somewhat queasy in a sea-sick kind of way and I had to place my hand on his head and push down firmly so he’d stop before I threw up on him.

I managed to delay our leaving so we could stay at home for the half hour we would otherwise have been waiting at school, in the car, in the cold. We are still the first people there, and still have to wait around, lining up, lining bags up and getting all organised for some 45 minutes before I can wave the bus farewell, race home and commence my ‘proper’ school morning routine.

This went as per normal, and although I had great plans for a bit of a kip at some point during the day, I was far too excited, eleven-year-old-boy-going-to-camp-excited, to get stuck back into my work.

So I did.

I’m also quite liking easing back into the routine being down one child. I just worry I’ll forget about him entirely next week, what with being able to establish myself this week without him.

Hmmmm.

Analyze in regards to the online casino at our internet-site