Tag Archives: children

New Zealand Mosque Attack – the murder of children

I was horrified by the New Zealand Mosque attack yesterday. It touched my head and made me angry.

Today, the first thing I saw on Twitter was a picture of a man. He was shown from the back and in his arms hung the body of a child. A four year old.

That image touched my heart and will haunt me for the rest of my days.

I remember being a young Mum and suddenly being terrified of the world into which my baby was born. My baby is over 30 now. The child in that picture…

I’m only one person, but I have to do what I can to hammer home this simple truth:

people who spew white supremacist/nationalist poison are not exercising their right to free speech, they are pointing psychopaths at a target and inviting them to shoot.

Every single person who excuses, condones or ‘softens’ the reality of white supremacist hatred is just as guilty of murder as the pond scum that finally pulls the trigger.

We cannot continue to accept this upsurge of hatred as part of democracy. We cannot continue to validate it.

The standard you walk by is the standard you accept’

Governor of NSW, David Hurley

We cannot be complicit in the murder of children.

Meeks

 


The taste of real food

Strawberries, glorious aren’t they?

The image above came from freeimages.com, and I can only assume the strawberries are store bought because mine look like this:

Yes, that is a bog standard dinner fork for comparison. My homegrown strawberries are truly tiny, and yet…when I bite into one my taste buds sit up and beg for more. No need for sugar, no need for whipped cream. These tiny red gems are so full of flavour, and natural sweetness, they literally do not need anything else to ‘enhance’ them.

To be honest, I haven’t bought strawberries from the shop in years. Not because I was growing my own but because they had no flavour unless drenched in sugar. Ditto tomatoes and apricots. The store bought ones are all big, beautiful and utterly tasteless. We may eat with our eyes, but these commercially grown fruits supply very little to our taste buds. They also tend to be expensive except when they are in season.

So what’s the answer? Grow your own, of course.

Wait! Don’t go.

Even if you only have a pocket sized garden, you can grow one, small apricot tree. They don’t grow very big, or at least the one that has been growing in my garden hasn’t. And they don’t require much care. I do water mine every night while it’s fruiting, but I don’t ‘feed’ it, or even cover it with netting half the time. Despite that, there’s usually enough for me, my little nephews and the neighbourhood wild life.

And this brings me to something even closer to my heart than good food – it’s the look on a child’s face when they first bite into warm, tree-ripened fruit. They blink in surprise, and then their little faces light up with wonder. I saw that wonder on my nephew’s face when his Dad lifted him up so he could pick and eat his own apricot, straight from my tree. I think it was a moment that neither of us will forget.

But what if you don’t even have a pocket sized garden?

All of the following pictures were taken on my deck. It’s about 2.5 x 6 [metres], so a decent size, but even if you only have 1 x 1 metre, you can plant one big pot with both a tomato and a strawberry in it. Both like a fair amount of water and seem happy to share. That is precisely what I’ve done here:

If you look to the left of the tomato, you can see the strawberry plant that shares its pot.

I invested in some big terracotta pots, but you don’t have to go to that much expense, a big plastic pot will do just as well. Size is the important thing because smaller pots dry out too quickly.

This is a pic of my basil pot, with a foot thrown in for comparison. There’s also a small tomato plant and some weeds. 😀

 

I’ve been harvesting that basil all summer for homemade pesto. Talk about a delicious, ‘free’ meal!

So what else do I have growing in pots?

I don’t have a great deal of lettuce at the moment, and little green caterpillars ate most of my rocket, but I do have heaps of continental parsley:

I’m also trying something new – watercress:

True to its name, watercress likes water, so I’m growing it in the bottom half of an old worm farm. This is where the worm ‘tea’ is supposed to collect so you can drain it off via the small tap at the bottom:

[In case anyone’s wondering, I released the worms into the garden first].

The watercress ‘pot’ is sitting on top of bricks so I can capture the excess water [it’s full of nutrients] and reuse it on the other pots.

Now, a word about costs. The lettuce, parsley and tomatoes have all grown from volunteer seed – i.e. from plants that were allowed to go to seed. This means they are expert survivors, and they cost me nothing but a paper bag to store the seeds. I bought the strawberry plant, but the basil and watercress seeds were donated by a family friend – thanks Alice! I’ll save their seeds for next year.

The only other costs were my time, water [getting more and more expensive] and a couple of bags of potting mix, so my deck plants are very economical. Unfortunately, my fruit trees are another matter. I have:

1 apricot

1 plumcot [apricot & plum hybrid]

1 apple

1 quince

1 fig

1 Morello cherry [new]

1 kiwi [she needs a male but they keep dying]

1 lemon

1 lime

2 feijoas

5 peaches [each a different variety]

Between them, these 16 fruit trees require so much water that I’m not even breaking even in terms of fruit vs costs. But…we get to eat unsprayed, tree ripened fruit for about 5 months of the year. For me, that’s enough to justify the time, effort and cost of keeping these trees alive. Plus, I kind of think that the water may also help to keep a bushfire from ravaging the place the one day. That’s probably wishful thinking, but we all need our illusions. 🙂

So, should you grow your own? Really?

I believe that everyone can grow something, even if it’s just a few herbs, or a tomato/strawberry shared pot.

I also believe that everyone would benefit from growing something, no matter how small.

But…I’m convinced that kids need to learn what real food tastes like, and if they learn how to grow their own, all the better.

As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say. Do you grow your own? What? How much? Has it made a difference? Please share. 🙂

-hugs-

Meeks

 


#Facebook selling children’s pain

Just read an article on the Passive Guy about ‘…a leaked confidential document prepared by Facebook that revealed the company had offered advertisers the opportunity to target 6.4 million younger users, some only 14 years old, during moments of psychological vulnerability, such as when they felt “worthless,” “insecure,” “stressed,” “defeated,” “anxious,” and like a “failure.”

I was shocked. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I don’t like Facebook. I’ve even compared Facebook to Big Brother, but this? This goes beyond anything that I would call ‘normal’ business practices. Is this truly the shape of the new world? Are we truly prepared to accept this behaviour as normal?

But wait, there’s more. One of the comments to the article was this:

‘ If you are that entwined with Facebook then you pretty much deserve what you get.’

Really? I replied with this:

‘I’m Australian and I don’t automatically blame the victim. I loathe Facebook and the more I learn about it the more I hate what it’s doing. If this article is accurate, then it’s Facebook that deserves condemnation, not the young and vulnerable who are only doing what millions? billions? of other vulnerable people are doing worldwide…’

Facebook is a monster that we created because we are the only product that Mark Zuckerberg sells. Think about it.

Meeks


The Rights of Children

I received this comment from Brandi Walton today :

‘What is your response to children who were raised by gays and say things like “I deserved a mom, or I wanted a dad.” “I wish I hadn’t been created just because two lesbians wanted a kid. It’s not fair I don’t know my other biological parent.”
I ask this sincerely.
Brandi’

The more I thought about it, the more I realised no short answer was possible because there are so many questions implied within that one comment. On the one hand there is the issue common to adopted children of not knowing who their biological parent[s] are and hence, not knowing what their own DNA/family heritage may be. That is real. And then there is the plaintive ‘I wanted a dad.’ I adored my Dad so I could hardly ignore that one. But what of :

  • ‘I deserved a mom’?
  • ‘I wish I hadn’t been created just because two lesbians wanted a kid’?

I believe every child deserves to be protected and cherished and loved. If any of those needs are not met then the child’s parents deserve to be censured, but I can’t see how their gender makes a difference. I also can’t see how their marital status makes a difference. There are bad married parents; there are bad de facto parents; there are bad single parents; there are parents who abandon their children, either to the state or to the care of grandparents or aunts and uncles; there are parents who should never have conceived a child at all because they lack the ability to look after themselves, let alone a child. But in all these sad situations, being gay is not the cause; being gay is simply a fact, like being blond rather than brunette.

Unfortunately, I suspect that Brandi is not talking about that kind of bad parenting; I think she is talking about parenting that makes the child feel ‘different’ to her peers. Not fitting in can be a terrible thing. I know because I have never fitted in.

My parents and I arrived in Australia when I was just four. We were asylum seekers from the Hungarian Revolution of 1957. We did not speak English and we acted ‘strange’. My Mother insisted on bringing me hot lunches and sitting with me at school while I ate. She also brought delicious cakes for the other little kids, but I would have preferred eating sand. But that was nothing compared to her insistence that I wear trousers during winter – ugly, boyish trousers while all the other little girls ran around in frilly skirts and short socks. They almost froze but at least they were…feminine.

And then there was that weird European obsession with learning. While the rest of the kids were having a good time and messing around, my Dad expected me to actually pay attention and learn stuff. Yup, I fit in so well I could have been scarred for life and yet, my parents were hetero.

Now, as a parent myself, I know that no matter how hard I try and how good my intentions may be, I will still get things wrong. But my daughter forgives me because she knows how much I love her.

And speaking of love, I have to say that my Dad was the best Dad on earth. He was a real hands-on father before the term was even invented. He helped me with my homework and took me to ballet classes, taught me to think logically and question everything while holding my hand as I learned how to rollerskate and ride a bicycle. He taught me about beauty and honour and justice, all without raising his hand against me.

My Dad was a good parent, a very good parent, but you know what? Dad was good because of who he was, not because he was a male. His maleness was irrelevant. It’s the person that counts, not the gender.

And finally the question about heritage. I cannot imagine not knowing my parents or the history of our family. Heritage is part of who we are. It’s not everything, but it is an important part and I believe all children should be given that information. The laws are slowly changing to reflect that need, but I can imagine that some children conceived with donor sperm may have a terrible need to know the other half of their heritage. Sadly, the need to use donor sperm is not restricted to lesbian couples and the heartache of the children concerned is a deficit of the law rather than the relationship between the parents.

Finally, I have to wonder whether the child of lesbian parents is so bitter because she lacks a father, or because she clashes with her mother the way I clashed with mine?

My hope is that one day we will all take marriage equality for granted and allow little kids to go to school without being tormented for being ‘different’. I was tormented for looking different; boys like Kenneth James Weishuhn are tormented for being gay. Does any child deserve that? I don’t think so.

-hugs-

Meeks

 

 

 


Drowning does NOT look like drowning

In many child drownings, adults are nearby but have no idea the victim is dying. Here’s what to look for.

Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why….”

Please, please follow this link to Sunnysleevez blog post on what to look for re drowning. In that post you will learn about the Instinctive Drowning Response, and what it looks like from the perspective of someone outside the pool looking in. This is vital where small children are concerned. But it also applies to adults.

I’m Australian, but I was born in Hungary, and when I was twenty-one I traveled to Hungary to visit my relatives. I was there during summer, and my aunt took me to a huge swimming pool complex called the Palatinus.

Picture a stinking hot day with the sun beating down on hundreds of people, all swimming and playing in the  open air swimming pools. Now picture a long rectangular pool with the shallow ends being along the sides instead of at one end the way ours are.

I assumed the whole pool would be shallow. So I waded in from the side and dove underwater. I swam a few metres to the middle, and put my feet down…

I don’t know whether I exhaled because I expected my feet to touch bottom and my head to be above water, or from surprise. But my feet kept going down and my lungs were virtually empty.

My feet never touched bottom so I could kick my way up. The deep end was straight down the middle. I could see the surface, but I just couldn’t seem to reach it.

I remember this terrible feeling of disbelief when I realised I was going down for the third time. That meant I was drowning didn’t it? But how could I drown in a pool full of people? Yet that is exactly what was happening.  I suddenly knew I was drowning.

Until that moment I’d been fairly calm, just working to reach the surface, and maybe feeling a little silly. And then the panic set in.

According to the research, they don’t know what people are doing with their feet while they go through this drowning response, but I can tell you. You kick madly. Not consciously perhaps, but you do kick. I know because I kicked someone. Hard.

That kick is the only reason I’m here to write this post. It got me to the surface with enough force to let me go horizontal and start swimming. I made it out to the edge of the pool on my own. And not one of those happy, laughing, splashing people knew I was drowning.

My near-drowning happened because :

a) I did not know the place in which I was swimming, and didn’t realise I was way out of my depth, and

b) I had learned bad habits – i.e. exhaling too soon.

Little kids are always out of their depth, and they probably have as many bad habits as I did. Put those two things together and you can have a dead child in 60 seconds. And you won’t know a thing until someone notices that child floating quietly below the surface.

I was so very lucky. Too many kids aren’t.

-hugs-

Meeks


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