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Archive for the ‘vegetarians are not fun’ Category

This is Christmas in the sub-tropics in Australia..

I love to see what December looks like in your part of the world (particularly if it includes snow), so if you care to, leave a link to your own December photos in the comment section.

a new baby

Lauca and Cormac meet their new cousin, my sister’s first baby.

In the hospital room with my sister and brother-in-law.

a hospital room scene1

Cold Greek yoghurt and cucumber soup. Most of the ingredients were grown in the garden.

a yoghurt and cucumber soup

Lunch on the deck for my friend and I. (All our children screamed simultaneously the entire time in the background. We drank champagne and stopped caring).

a lunch

One of the gifts my brother gave to the kids for Christmas – cardboard moneyboxes.

a moneybox

Lauca and my friend’s daughter talking on a picnic rug in a park.

a on a picnic rug

Lauca in the local rainforest.

a bush walking

Bush-walking with my kids and my friend’s kids.

a bushwalking2

Tree-climbing fallen trees.

a treeclimbing

Cormac doing Christmas morning dancing.

a pose

Lauca during breakfast at home on Christmas morning. (We’re a ‘sunglasses at the table’ kind of glamour family).

a xmas breakfast

Christmas lunch at my sister’s.

a auntys

Counting baby toes in matching reindeer t-shirts.

a christmas day

Baby cousin.

a baby cousin

Cormac on my sister’s back steps.

a back door

Boxing Day BBQ. Cool enough weather to be drinking red wine in a mug.

My aunt taught me to crack a stock whip and then she taught the kids how to use a bow and arrow.

a boxing day bbq

Creek walking.

a wild flowers

Lauca building a bridge.

a bridge building

Cormac stamping in puddles.

a boots

Me, earlier this month.

sydney2

This is what December has looked like previous years: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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I’m in two minds about this compelling article about food fascism – “Why I Hate Food” by Mary Rechner, and it is partly because my own cynicism about this movement is being slowly watered down by my recent participation in it.

Becoming a mother seemed to increase the number of interactions I had with people attempting to make me feel insecure. People began asking many questions designed to determine if I was nursing too much or too little, whether I was too attached or not attached enough, and how I planned to educate my progeny, i.e. was I planning to home school? (Add providing a comprehensive K-12 education to that to-do list!) When my children began eating solid food, people were curious to know what I was feeding them, i.e. did I use a food mill and grind the sweet potato myself or did it come from a jar?

Perhaps we focus so closely on food because feeding our families creates an illusion of control. On Facebook, a friend posts about her son refusing to eat a conventionally-grown banana. He can taste the difference—he will only eat organic. What is the subtext of such a post? My child has been taught correctly? My child has learned what I’ve taught? We are good, we are safe, no harm will come to us? Perhaps also this: If your child cannot taste this difference between organic and conventional bananas, clearly our family is better than yours.

As a child, my elder son never set foot in a McDonald’s. He believed us when we told him the burgers were unhealthy. As a pre-teen, he watched Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me, and his anti-McDonald’s stance appeared permanently fixed. He refused even one bite of my large fries. We were at a Connecticut rest stop on I-95—I was desperate! Thus, I never could have imagined the current scenario: my teenage son regularly hanging out in McDonald’s after school. When I asked him if he eats any of the food, he replied, “I eat all of it.”

There is a problem with über-mumming and radical housewife movements in that they do not particularly rock the status quo – one where women’s labour is under-valued and under-recognised.. but on the other hand, not everyone is going to be an artist or a writer so homecrafts probably aren’t, in reality, robbing us of all the world’s female artists. And is there anything wrong with women finding something artistic and beautiful about their everyday pursuits? Basically, home-makers are a fucking soft target.

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Last night Bill and I went out for dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. I ate Agedashi Tofu, which is one of my most favourite meals in the whole world (and last night I realised that it is not unlike French Onion Soup, which is also a favourite meal of mine – France and Japan, have I just insulted you both?), and Bill ate … meat! I was a little surprised because I have been vegetarian for about fifteen years and Bill has been vegetarian for at least ten years, pretty much ever since he wanted to move in with me, travel and have babies together.

This is one of the difficult but interesting things about loving Bill. I never quite get to the bottom of him.

Bill was quite sheepish when I started asking him questions in my gentle, probing style about exactly when and why he had started eating meat again. Then, to be polite, I asked him if his dish was good and he said it was delicious and did I want to try some. “No, because I am an actual vegetarian, not some guy who pretends to be vegetarian for ten years in order to get a vegetarian girlfriend”.

We toasted many years of being together, and never getting married, and still loving the sight of one another naked. He said “you’re a high maintenance girlfriend but in a fun and interesting way”. We love romance. On the way home we saw an enormous meteor in the sky. That has got to be a good omen for us, I said and he agreed.

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My dill went to seed and now it is only good for vases.

Boy in his pink PJs.

Bill finds interesting things on roadsides.

Cormac, aged two years: What are you cooking, Mama?

Me: Pasta.

Cormac: And you’re going to put that grass on it?

(Summer in the sub-tropics – afternoon storms and sun and humidity; you can literally watch the plants grow they’re going so fast in our garden at the moment).

Meeting the rooster brother of our hens.

At the hen farm.

(This summer we have been eating lots of cold soups and drinking cloudy apple ciders, but this wasn’t one of those days because I can also knock out a pretty great curry).

A romantic curry lunch just for Bill and I.

Cormac builds block towers while the rest of the family has dinner.

Lauca sliding off a home-made waterslide at an uncle’s place.

I really like how Evangelicals depict the Armageddon and I made some guy’s day by accepting his booklets when he was door-knocking the area recently. I had a sense there might be some treasures inside and then I found this.

Don’t forget to iron your clothes when the world ends.

A request by letter from Lauca, aged six years.

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I love this whole mindful eating thing, like a groupie, and the kids have picked it up from me and now they will scold us if we eat in front of the TV and say things like “that doesn’t look like intuitive eating, Daaaaad”..  and does it ever piss Bill off. He finds the ‘mindful eating movement’ really rather pretentious, it’s our Gywneth and Chris moment.

Anyway, here are some tips on how to really enjoy eating or really grate on the nerves of Bill. Either way, quite fun:

WHEN YOU EAT, JUST EAT. Unplug the electronica. For now, at least, focus on the food.

CONSIDER SILENCE. Avoiding chatter for 30 minutes might be impossible in some families, especially with young children, but specialists suggest that greenhorns start with short periods of quiet.

TRY IT WEEKLY. Sometimes there’s no way to avoid wolfing down onion rings in your cubicle. But if you set aside one sit-down meal a week as an experiment in mindfulness, the insights may influence everything else you do.

PLANT A GARDEN, AND COOK. Anything that reconnects you with the process of creating food will magnify your mindfulness.

CHEW PATIENTLY. It’s not easy, but try to slow down, aiming for 25 to 30 chews for each mouthful.

USE FLOWERS AND CANDLES. Put them on the table before dinner. Rituals that create a serene environment help foster what one advocate calls “that moment of gratitude.”

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This is a step closer to the kitchen garden we’re planning for our little home.

(Seriously, Google ‘kitchen gardens’ some day and kiss the rest of your afternoon goodbye. Sunday Reed’s kitchen garden at the Heide Museum of Modern Art is the first kitchen garden I fell in love with, so you know, kitchen gardening isn’t all wholesome – some of it is actually really dark and wild and all about having the best dinner parties).

Last week Bill finished building the hen house and then my mother arrived with these four little bantams for us. Nothing is more peaceful than sitting in the garden watching chooks dust-bath and pick through your lawn for insects.

Then my brother flew into town this weekend for Christmas and surprised us with a worm farm for a housewarming present. One day, soon possibly, we might have a productive garden. Right now, between the bees, the worms, the chooks and the guinea pigs we’re just specialising in nice places to sit outside and watch small animals.

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Here are my kids feeding kangaroos to within an inch of their lives.

The kangaroos are so over-fed at this park that they lay about under trees and kind of groan. The children push pellets between their little hairy kangaroo lips.

It is school holidays here, the kangaroos already guessed that.

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I want to buy ethical milk products. And I am prepared to pay a price reflecting the additional costs involved in kinder production methods.

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I don’t usually do parenting tips but this is one I keep coming back to thinking it might be worth sharing. While we are vegetarians we do feed our children fish for the first few years of their life. Anyway, something I learnt about feeding fish to very small children? It is best done with chopsticks.

My father’s Japanese wife taught me that one. Turns out cultures that eat a lot of fish know a thing or two about how to feed it to a baby/toddler. Chopsticks are particularly good when you are sorting small bits of fish out from bones but they are also good for feeding tinned fish to a baby. Besides, have you seen how cute children’s chopsticks are?

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So, come for the angry feminist rants at blue milk and stay for the cutesy children’s artwork blogging. After our recent love letter comes this vampire art, here at the art factory. Lauca’s curiosity with vampires pre-dates* her parents’ interest in True Blood but with all of that going on and the baby suddenly biting everybody in sight too, it feels as though there is much blood lust in our house these days.

Lauca hasn’t been exposed to anything much in the way of vampiric art so this is her own interpretation of what they might look like. (I note a distinct lack of Alexander Sarsgård). It was an interactive art piece where the faces were on tabs that could be pulled down to reveal their ‘inner’ gloomy faces. I am not sure what the story is there – their lost souls, perhaps?

No wonder she is still co-sleeping.

* The pie recipe Lauca created for her fifth birthday is called “Vampire Pie” – because it is so red inside. We’re still vegetarian; the pie is basically Mediterranean vegetables with herbs and feta and lots of tomato paste. Actually quite tasty.

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