Showing posts from June, 2012

Rape bait

Rape bait.
Tonight in the supermarket I was catching up with a friend I hadn't seen for a long time, a woman who has not been sheltered from much that is nasty in the world, a woman who I respect.
I was horrified when she used the term rape bait.

Challenging people on their assumptions that womn are responsible for not getting raped (passive responsibility, as if such a thing has any logic) rather than men responsible for not raping (active responsibility) is something I am trying to find ways to do.  So far, I'm not very good at it.  Tonight I tried to say that it isn't a young woman's fault if she is raped.  I wasn't brave enough to challenge this assumption strongly, and I find it so deeply ingrained in our culture that what should be so simple, is actually radical and difficult to express and discuss. 

Rape bait.
The notion that women need to protect themselves from being raped by their choice of where they go, who they go with, how they dress, and when they ar…

Saturday night reading and being 'home'.

This is what I read on Saturday night: Why Women Still Can't Have It All by Anne-Marie Slaughter, published in the Atlantic, much more thoughtful and insightful than the rather inflammatory title suggests, and sufficiently thought provoking that I was awake at 3am pondering what an earth I wanted to extrapolate from it as a woman in small town coastal New Zealand who isn't moving and shaking the White House.

Slaughter makes a number of very interesting points and I think the article is an important read.  She acknowledges her privilege in terms of being very well paid and thus able to pay others to do housework and childcare and laundry etc. 

But what left the strongest impression on me was not the gender politics of it all, or the maternal labour politics, but the sheer craziness of how much time she spent at work, whether she had children or not.  She lived for two years in Washington while her husband and two sons lived in New Jersey.  She commuted back to their family hom…

Saturday night in small town New Zealand


Blair, Tolley & books

People who have annoyed me most recently:
Cherie Blair, who assumes that there is only one way to parent. I guess she has a lot of experience with getting up most of the night to a vomiting child, doing all the resultant laundry herself, ringing in sick to work, and cooking meals for everyone else throughout the cleanup and recovery period. Then going to work as soon as possible and trying to catch up and then rushing home as soon as possible to support still fragile child. Good on Cherie Blair for pursuing her successful career and parenting. Stink on her for judging other people's choices about which she has no clue.  Source: here.
Anne Tolley.  We don't laugh and gloat in court if someone is sentenced to jail for a crime, but somehow it is okay for an MP to stand gloating and laughing on someone's crushed car.  Seven nights without alcohol.  The chocolate stash in the fridge is disappearing instead.  I've settled on turmeric, mostly in the capsules I bou…


At 6am this morning I left the warmth of my bed and stared at the kitchen in mild despair.  Today is Matariki and I have two plates of healthy food to provide for the shared lunch being held at my children's school.  Favourite Handyman is much improved but hadn't felt strong enough to do the dishes the night before.  I'd done one dishwasher load then and began to organise another this morning.  I put potatoes on to cook after realising we had no canned borlotti or similar beans for the mini quiches.

I may be better in the morning than late at night, but I'm still not great at restaurant-speed cooking when I'm tired.  By 9.05am, I'd made two dozen mini quiches, hummous and assembled carrots, celery, olives and crackers into named containers.  I'd done a big pile of dishes.  I'd also driven FH to work in my dressing gown, driven the kids to school in my dressing gown (we live very close but I refuse to walk them across State Highway 6 in my dressing gown)…

Mitochondria and the iron project

I've just rewatched Terry Wahl's TED presentation on mitochondria.  Terry Wahl is a doctor who developed Multiple Sclerosis and deteriorated to the point of being unable to walk.  She embarked on her own research into MS, delving deeper and deeper into what is known about mitochondria, and developed an eating programme which restored her to active health.  Now she campaigns the cause of vegetables, lots and lots and lots of vegetables.  I've read about her before and found her story interesting and inspiring.  I often think the focus in the media healthwise is far too much on what we shouldn't eat, to the neglect of the things which are very good to eat.  Instead of bemoaning KFC and proposing fat taxes, I wish that souvlaki bars were more widespread.  The proportion of veges to carbohydrate (plus the sheer yumminess factor) of a souvlaki is way way better than a KFC dinner box or a parcel of takeaways fish and chips.  In my experience, bought food offers a valuable sa…

The iron chelating project update

In my last post, I outlined the options and my preferences in my quest to lower my iron stores while I wait for an appointment with a doctor with the knowledge to supervise a phlebotomy regime.  Two days later and I've got more things to think about.

1. Green tea.
The advantages of drinking lots of green tea for a medicinal purpose are that it is cheap, easy to make, and can even be bought when out for lunch or dinner.  The disadvantage for me, I was noticing rather clearly today, is that drinking 3-4 cups of green tea per day is a lot more caffeine than I normally drink, and I've been getting tetchy headaches and restless legs/muscle spasms.  When I found myself craving chocolate this afternoon, it all began to add up to the possibility that the green tea was chelating out magnesium as well as iron.  I've learnt from past experience to look after my magnesium levels.  Next time I got near the computer, I did some research and sure enough, the tannins in the tea chelate ou…

The iron reduction project

I collected my blood results and sure enough, two of the readings considered significant for iron overload are outside the 'normal' range (transferrin and iron saturation).  Today I rang the medical centre to request an appointment with a doctor with some experience with haemochromatosis.  If I'm going to have regular phlebotomy, I would like to be under the care of someone able to interpret the blood results and with a clear picture of what needs to happen and how frequently.  Even in the days of bloodletting with leeches, I'm guessing people preferred to have some guiding expertise and supervision for the process. 

It wasn't possible for the nurse to be sure of who had the requisite knowledge and experience, but I now have an appointment in five weeks' time with the doctor with the best reputation at the practice.  The blood bank doesn't visit Wetville in winter as the risks of having a full van of blood and not being able to get it back over the hill to…

Bringing back some gothic romance to medicine

One of my favourite pastimes is learning about achieving good health through natural remedies.  I like working out what is wrong and then finding out what can be done food-or-herb wise to increase the postive health outcome likelihood.  Last Friday I got a blood test.  I went to see the locum doctor and explained about haemochromatosis and requested that, given it was 15 years since my last bloods specifically testing ferritin et al levels, I get tested.  Unfortunately, the locum seemed to know nothing about haemochromatosis, and didn't even seem to have much of a database to look up for more information.  If I'd known that I was going to be dictating which tests to ask for, I'd have looked them up and written them down before I went to the doctor.  So I later worked out that some tests are missing on the lab form, but hopefully what is ordered will tell us something useful (Who am I kidding?  Tell me something useful).  The doctor ordered some other tests when I commented…

Jerusalem artichokes

The garden the garden.  Everything in life seems so much more wonderful when I have my fingers in the earth.  I weeded around my daffodils, planted garlic and planted some pansies.  I harvested some jerusalem artichokes.  I had thought the plant would yield a dinner's worth but actually there is a bonza harvest underneath that decaying stalk.  This week is likely to feature more jerusalem artichokes.  Tonight's dinner, of garlic, onions, bacon, kale and j.artichokes, with lashings of butter and some parsley to boot, was most delicious.  Recipe ideas very welcome.

I have almost finished the red corduroy skirt.  All it needs is a hem.  But as I sit here wearing it, I have two thoughts:
1. I may splash out on a leg wax.  I don't see why anyone should have to remove any bodily hair just because of social conventions/expectations, but at the same time I find I want to hide my legs when they are hairy.  Which is most of the time.  In 13 years, I have removed leg hair twice, but …

The Queen's frocks

Lefties, the pure kind, don't seem to like royalty.  It doesn't take much analysis to deduce why campaigners for a level playing field kind of society abhor institutions of inherited wealth and privilege.

Once again, it seems that I am impure.  Firstly, I didn't grow up in a left-wing environment.  My freezing worker dad thought that there was nothing wrong with capitalism, except that he was at the wrong end of it.  My mum never ever came from Addington when she introduced herself to people, always Canterbury.  That should tell you enough.  It's not their fault that I did or didn't like royalty though.  Dad's heroes were All Blacks and Mum had her own weird mix of wealth and privilege and supposed meritocracy in the form of her allegiance to the Pope. 

Books on the royal families were in good supply at the Richmond Public Library when I was a kid.  I had a particular interest in Queen Victoria's progeny.  I recall writing up family trees of the Saxe-Coburg…