My life through magazines

As I purchased a Women’s Health magazine while out shopping the other day, I started thinking about the kinds of magazines I’ve purchased over the years, and what this says about the stages of my soul journey generally. Here’s a rundown of my life, as evidenced through my magazine purchases:

Dolly/Girlfriend

Yes, it’s shameful, but come on, I was a teenager. I’m sure other Gen-Xers out there spent as much time as I did plastering posters of Christian Slater all over my walls and drooling over Luke Perry. And I was always a sucker for one of those ridiculous surveys, like “What Kind of Girl are You?” etc etc.

Cosmopolitan

Naturally, this magazine was reserved for my young adult years! It was quite educational, I must say, particularly when I was first married 🙂 

Wedding magazines of all descriptions

The flowers, the cake, the dress, the corsages, the reception… there’s a magazine for every bridal decision to be made. And we spend a fortune on them!!!!

Home Beautiful/Home Design

Shortly after we were married, Souljourneyboy and I built our first house. And I think if we counted up all the money we spent on magazines we could have actually built an extension on the house itself.

Parenting/Real Life

Then along came the babies. It was suddenly very important to read all about how to wrap a newborn and whether bottle feeding a baby really will eventuate in them not achieving their full potential when they sit their HSC. OK, I’m being facetious –  actually I did read a lot of good articles during this time of my life, and more than anything, it made me realise I wasn’t alone in navigating the sometimes horrifying minefield that is motherhood.

Super Food Ideas

When the kids grew out of being babies, I got really into cooking. Especially the recipes that promised a delicious meal cheaply! As we were on one salary, cost was of huge importance. I still love to cook – and now I could actually afford quality ingredients! – but alas, don’t have a great deal of time for it anymore.

Women’s Health

And finally, that brings me to the current time of my life. I never thought I’d be interested in a Women’s Health magazine, but find I am now seduced by promises of weight loss and more energy. I’m also thinking of signing up for Foreign Affairs, now I have finished my Masters degree. And I do love my World Vision freebie mag, that keeps me connected a world beyond my immediate horizon.

I’d love to hear what kinds of magazines you’ve read through your life!

 

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The battle every family faces…

It’s ugly.

It’s persistent.

It’s beyond stressful.

It’s…HEAD LICE.

Already, I know you are all out there scratching your heads just from reading the words.

I almost didn’t write this post because who wants to admit their kids have got head lice? And then I thought, stuff it, this really is a universal battle faced by every family.

We’ve actually been pretty lucky – the only other time the kids ever brought it home, the boys were a lot younger and Little Miss just a baby. My solution was to just shave the boys’ heads, which worked wonderfully.

Unfortunately, this time it is Little Miss who is afflicted, and while I did briefly think of shaving her head, I accidentally mentioned it out loud and she screamed the house down. She also screamed the house down when Bookworm helpfully told her that lice suck blood from your scalp (yes, there is such a thing as too much knowledge). And she also screams the house down anytime she sees the finetooth comb/sees my looking in her hair/sees the treatment bottle. So you can imagine this is not a fun time in our house.

It began about three weeks ago when I realised she had them, and I treated everyone – although the others didn’t seem to have caught them, luckily – but it just keeps coming back! It’s so hard to go through her hair because she has so much of it, and sitting there picking eggs out of her hair makes me feel like an ape. She actually calls it “egg-picking”. It’s just so awful.

And I feel like nothing I’m doing is working! So today I went back to the chemist and spent nearly $200 on treatments, new brushes, hair elastics and clips and a special electric comb that apparently kills them while you brush your hair. I am planing to wash all sheets and pillowslips, put the pillows in the dryer on high and treat everyone on a seven-night rotation schedule until all our hair falls out.

I am determined to triumph!!!!!!

I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

Why it doesn’t matter if you can’t draw rectangles (in Kindy)

Some of you know that I am now beginning the last subject for my Master’s degree that I started four lifetimes ago. I am very much looking forward to being done with Uni (for the time being anyway), and I will be pretty proud when I get that bit of paper that represents a whole lot of hard work. Anyway as I was pondering about this achievement, I found something interesting. My Kindergarten school report:

Two things jumped out at me regarding this report. The first being that apparently I could not recognise, nor draw, rectangles (go figure). The second thing was that though I had the potential to be – and ultimately became  – quite academically driven, I was obviously not that interested in Kindergarten!

Now, I like to think of myself as an involved parent. I researched schools before choosing one, I help the kids with their homework, I read their reports and I diligently attend parent-teacher interviews. But there are certain things I don’t do. I don’t, for example, stay up all night doing school assignments while the child in question gets a good night’s sleep. Nor do I accost other mothers I’ve never met in the carpark asking what reading level their child is on. I also try and remember that while my kids are the centre of my world, their teachers actually have 25 other little darlings to worry about, and so from time to time things do get overlooked.

I get that education is important – in fact, I believe passionately that education can make all the difference to children’s lives. But I just think we expect so much of our little people way too young. I am so grateful that my mother didn’t storm up to my school, Kindergarten report in hand, saying ” but if she can’t recognise a rectangle when she’s 5 then HOWEVER WILL SHE BE ABLE TO WRITE A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF MARXIST THEORY WHEN SHE’S DOING HER MASTER’S DEGREE?” You get my drift. Sometimes we need to chill a bit (myself included) and know that they’ll get there when they get there.

Anyway, I found another award from Kindergarten which puts everything into perspective:

(The picture is of the award, not the lummi stick, just to be clear).

So I might not have been able to recognise a rectangle but I could paint a damn fine lummi stick and isn’t that what Kindergarten is all about?

🙂

50 Shades too many…

So I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey.

It was OK.

Apologies if that conclusion isn’t exactly revealing or particularly interesting, but that’s all I’ve got:  it wasn’t brilliant, it wasn’t awful, it was just OK.

Let me say first up that I can completely understand the outrage writers and consumers of quality literature feel about the small fortune E L James has made by writing – as one of my dear colleagues quite rightly described it – an extended version of a Cosmo sealed section. Yes, it should have been edited at least three times more, the characters are one-dimensional, the writing isn’t very good and the plot is very basic. But as I didn’t expect great writing or a captivating plot, I wasn’t too disappointed.

What I did find interesting was that it explored the darker side of sexuality in a fairly honest way. At first I thought it was all going to be a fairly mindless soft-porn journey into the world of BDSM, but I thought it did achieve more than that – it tried to be a love story at the same time, and it did show Ana’s struggle in staying true to herself while being drawn into compromising her core values for the sake of a relationship (which is a pretty universal experience for women, IMHO).

I also got a glimpse into why women have been so attracted to the book – and I don’t think it’s that suddenly we all want to try out a bondage lifestyle – it’s because the idea of having someone sexually obsessed with you is kind of appealing. Especially when you’ve been with someone for quite some time and your conversations tend to be more about whether you’ve remembered to buy iron-on knee patches for the kids than a litany of erotic activity you’ve got planned for the evening.

Which is why, of course, this is complete fantasy, and not reality – and this brings me to what I didn’t like about 50 Shades. I found the level of fantasy undermined the eroticism. Christian Grey is impossibly good looking, billionaire-rich, commanding, successful and able to make Ana orgasm with a tweak of a nipple – yeah, ok. Yawn.

Also, while I could cope with the whole BDSM thing on one level (as part of their sex life), I found her deep-seated concern over whether she was making him angry actually worrying – control freak is one step away from abuser, and that line was crossed too many times – my “inner feminist” could not cope with it. Maybe it’s because the whole BDSM thing just doesn’t appeal to me personally. Although that said, when Christian is trying to talk Ana into being a “sub”, he talks about what a relief  it will be for her to just let him do all the thinking and make all the decisions. Now that, my friends, DOES sound appealing – I’d be quite happy to hand over thinking about what we’re going to have for dinner for the next few weeks and who’s going to drop the kids to school whether Little Miss should do gymnastics or ballet next year. But I know that’s not very sexy.

Another reason it didn’t do it for me is that I just didn’t feel there was any real sexual tension in the book. In my opinion, Jane Eyre is one of the sexiest books ever written and only one kiss is every described. I am unashamed to admit I like romantic fiction for a fun read – racy and otherwise – and it’s the chemistry between two characters that is important. Partly, this was lacking because of poor writing – the classic “show, don’t tell”. I was sick of being told how attracted to one another Ana and Christian were, and how beautiful and smart Ana was – without actually seeing or feeling it myself. And then as they were having sex by chapter three, it was kind of a let down. It’s the anticipation that makes you keep reading, and there just wasn’t much of that at all.

Ultimately, I think E L James committed the unforgivable sin as a writer – she didn’t make me care about her characters.  I won’t be reading the sequels simply because I’m not that interested to find out whether they end up together or not.

I think women who like the book maybe haven’t read widely enough – there is much better fiction available, erotic or otherwise . And as a dear friend pointed out there are so many good books and such limited time, so let’s not waste it on books that aren’t that good!