The right to return home alive

I was immensely flattered to be included in the 42nd Down Under Feminists' Carnival for this post on Food, fear and power. The post is actually from October 2010 and, such is the drivel I have been writing lately, I had to double check it was my work. I've hardly posted lately because I'd like to get back to writing more intelligently. Today I came to the conclusion that this wasn't improving the quality of my writing; rather it was freezing me from writing at all and as I do like to blog and I thought it time to get back in the saddle, low grade musings it is tonight.

The musings might be low grade, but I don't think all of my topics are low grade. I've been thinking about privacy and the poor. With an election just days away, beneficiaries and the working poor are being discussed like so many irritating and sometimes filthy obejcts in the media. High income earners don't get lumped together and discussed as a problem. While even National Radio listeners are often moved to email in and advise poor people to cook from scratch, grow their own food and give up booze, smokes and coca cola, no one asks how the wealthy can contribute better. Yes I do understand about differing tax policies for high income earners, but that seems to me to be a blunt and inadequate tool. It appears to be unthinkable to expect all high income earners to give back to their communities. Their communities? Living in gated communities or on large properties with cars to prevent the disaster of walking in the neighbourhood, not using facilities like libraries and swimming pools, using private health care and private schools, - this is what gives some wealthy people the sense that there is not a community that they owe any debt to. Yet the working poor and those lacking any paid job are dependent on community resources like public transport (which we don't even have in Wetville), libraries and public hospitals and schools. They are overrepresented in police records and womens refuges. Their needs are public and it seems to be a sport for many to judge them. But what is it about significant wealth which confers immunity from community responsibility? Much of that wealth, a significant portion indeed, comes from the sweat of the poor anyway.

I've also been thinking about fat acceptance. This post about the purpose of fat acceptance is excellent. I find examples of fat shaming, particularly very public humiliating of fat people on radios, awful and awfully common. Despite my aversion to all commercial radio in New Zealand, I will insist on venturing out into local shops and local shops will insist on playing commercial radio.

I had a project to cook some new meals a while back. I've made almost zilch progress on that.

I've sewn nothing since I last posted. I have knitted about five rows of a doll's pinafore. I haven't read any books either. Come to think of it, I don't seem to have done much outside of going to work, hanging out with our weekend visitors and eating (and drinking). The house is bit tidier than usual. Although this makes it nicer to live in, not reading or sewing or gardening seems rather a high price to pay.

Life seems to have a particular emotional intensity at the moment. This mostly translates into misty eyes, which I wouldn't recommend for any public situation. It is eight days from the anniversary of Pike River. We had a lovely weekend with my sister in law and brother in law and then after they had gone my daughter suddenly burst into floods of tears for her Nana. I guess the visit made her think of the other very special people who visit her from Auckland and then she realised her Nana won't visit ever again.

Long term readers will know how I hate Christmas. It is the material excess and profligate wastage of low grade plastic and hyper inflation of credit cards which bothers me most. But this year the context is different. We have booked to go to Auckland again and this time connecting through thinking positively about Christmas seems the least I can do for my father in law and his children. I'm not about to turn into the crazy excessive shopping lady, but I think I will prepare with better grace this year. I've got my eye on some books for some science-y people in the house and I'm planning to make lots of shortbread to turn into gifts. If the sun turns on its charm one day soon, then I will get a photo of the kids for some cute Christmas postcards. Typically I get these done and only give about five out and leave the rest languishing in a drawer, but five is kind of nicer than none. I have some bags to make out of sheets and once I have these perfected, then I want to make one each for the little girls of a bag lined with a gorgeous dress once worn by their Nana.

Next year though, I could be making way cooler gifts. Today I discovered (though surely I have known before and forgotten) that there is a night class here in Wetville on mosaics. I could make mosaic mirrors. It is wonderful that there are any night classes left. In fact, any time I despair of Labour's ineptitude and untrustworthyness (more often than I would prefer), remembering what National did to a 100 year old highly sucessful story of night classes sharpens my resolve to get them out.

Last May Day I listened to a beautiful song written by a local woman about a working person's right to go to work and return home alive. I thought I had a copy of the lyrics but I can't find them. I think of that often at the moment.


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