Wednesday, 30 November 2011

MAC or PC Personality?

We have had a bad week and a half. Gastro took down all five of us, one at a time, and then shortly after I got tonsillitis. To add insult to injury, in the middle of it all, my computer died as well.

This was not entirely unexpected. It was getting old, gets worked hard, and has been on its last legs for a while. I had just been hoping to get a few more months out of it.

So once I had dealt with the fact that this time it was not going to come back on, I had to face the age old dilemma - Mac or PC*?

A lot of people feel pretty strongly about this question, and many strongly identify with being one or the other.

The Mac users I found were especially passionate about Macs. When asked 'Mac or PC?' They would all reply, 'Mac definitely'. 'Why?' 'Because they are better.' 'In what way?' 'In every way.'

I liked the fact that they were so confident, and obviously very dedicated to their chosen brand, but as Macs are relatively more expensive than PCs, I sort of expect them to be better, but wanted to know in what ways, and why I should pay a surcharge for Mac when obviously PCs work well for a lot of people. No one seemed to be able to give me a good answer to this, except that perhaps I would get a longer lifespan out of a Mac, and that if I decided to sell it, it would retain its value better than a PC.

I tried to do as much research as possible, and the one article that I came across that probably helped most in making up my mind is this article by Hunch. It is an article about a study done about the traits and characteristics of people who identify as a 'PC person' or a 'Mac Person'.

Some of the key differences were that Mac people saw the world in a light of 'sameness' and therefore 'express a need to be perceived as different or unique' whereas PC users see the world as different enough. This difference is reflected in their aesthetic choices such as Mac users being into retro design and one-of-a-kind clothing, whereas PC users are more likely to make practical choices to get the job done rather than making an overt design statement. Media choices are also likely to be different, e.g.; Mac users more likely to be into Indy films, PC users into more mainstream films and also sport.

So yes, when it came to investing a substantial amount of money in a piece of technology, I was most influenced by the fact that Mac and PC users have different aesthetic taste.

I am pretty conservative in many ways, but don't like to see myself as mainstream. I am attracted to handmade things, old furniture, and love op-shops and markets. I hate watching sport on TV.

So, I am now the proud owner of a new Mac. Am I happy with my choice? Change is hard, but time will tell whether I have made the right choice. So far it works, and that is a lot more than I can say for my old PC.

Do you identify with being a Mac user or a PC user?
Do you not identify yourself in these terms?   :)

* Obviously as PC stands for Personal Computer, they are all PCs, and it is in fact a Windows vs Mac question, but as most people phrase it as a PC vs Mac issue, I decided to use this terminology as well.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

'24 Hour Rule' Fail

I have lived by the 24 hour rule all my parenting life and it has served me well, until recently that is. Do you live by the 24 hour rule? The rule whereby if your child is sick, you don't take them out or let them socialise with others for at least 24 hours after they vomit, have diarrhoea or a temperature. Most daycare centres and other places that children frequent have this rule, and it just makes sense, in order to make sure that they are over the bug and are most likely over the contagious period.

My darling Rocket was quite sick on Thursday night (several times, hourly), and then once more at about 7am in the morning. He was off his food and lethargic on Friday, but no other signs of being sick. I let out a sigh of relief, and was thankful that my other two didn't seem to be showing any symptoms. On Saturday morning, Rocket was back to his normal bouncy self and had a normal breakfast. He then had a normal (if somewhat large) lunch, kept it all down and continued to be perky. It was well over the required 24 hours, so after assessing the situation we decided late on Saturday afternoon to head out to Ikea.

Molly May had for some reason decided to wear a nappy, which she hardly ever does out anymore. A few minutes into our shopping trip, she was standing in a corner behind a chair in one of the Ikea rooms when she looked at Papa, and asked 'Am I wearing a nappy?', Papa assured her she was and she let loose, except that for some reason the nappy didn't seem to catch any of it, and she left a sizeable puddle. I hadn't bought a change of clothes. We should have left Ikea at this point.

I headed quickly downstairs to the shopping centre and bought some new pants and undies for her. Upon returning to my family, I noticed a large red bump on her head - she had run full pelt around the kids section and come off second best to the edge of a baby change table on display that happened to be forehead height for her. We should have left at this point.

We did a quick circuit of what we wanted to look at and then decided to give the kiddies a quick bite to eat before descending into the market hall. Our famished little ones began to eat, and on the second bite of meatball, Rocket's stomach decided he didn't want his lunch after all, or his breakfast in fact, and let it all out over the table, the floor, and mostly himself.

I desperately tried to find a cleaning person who spoke english, which is apparently a challenge in itself in Ikea, but with a few choice hand gestures, they looked repulsed and hurried away. It took what seemed forever for someone to actually come out, while Papa Bear and I frantically clamoured for as many paper napkins as we could find to try and deal with the mess the best we could. After having dealt with it the best we could, and knowing that cleaners were now on the scene, we decided to leave.

I am not sure I will ever be able to take my children to Ikea again.

Do you use the 24 hour rule? Should it be changed to the 48 hour rule?
What is your worst shopping experience?

* One man I mentioned this story to said vomiting was a common normal male reaction to shopping at Ikea and had nothing to do with gastro at all.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Simple Handmade Gifts for Girls

Today I am guest posting over at Frog, Goose, and Bear. I met Emma earlier this year after we moved to Melbourne, and it was her blog that inspired me to move into the public realm of blogging after I had been blogging privately (for family and close friends) for a couple of years. She has also inspired me to experiment more with creative pursuits. I found leaving Adelaide really sad - leaving people who I had grown to care about so much, but blogging, a bit of craft and photography, and meeting some wonderful women at playgroup has slowing started filling the gaps that had appeared after leaving Adelaide. Life feels so much more positive, and Emma has played a big part in that. 
So head over to Emma's blog and have a look around - she is amazingly creative, and her blog houses the most wonderful collection of fun things for kids to do, easy recipes, simple handmade gifts and much, much more - you will love it!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Grateful - For Dogs...

Dear Bear, when we brought you home on January 15, you were a tiny pup;

You were interested in your new home, and your new family, and they were interested in you

You weren't so sure of the cardboard box we had for you to sleep in
You didn't mind the pats though,
But you were happier when the other puppies got in the box with you.
Your new big brothers were so excited to have you at last,
They had been pretty sad about leaving all their friends in Adelaide, but you made it better,
You were so loved, from the first moment.
There was even another toddler in the house to play with, who knew you preferred your food out of the bowl,
And would share her dummy with you, until you started chewing through them,
You grew so quickly, and became a close companion, part of our family,
You liked to look after Molly as she played in the bath,
and liked it when she gave you drinks of water,
We all grew to love you very much, and we are so grateful that you are part of our family
And you were grateful we took you to the beach, even if you got car sick on the way.  You are such a handsome boy!

We love you SO much! Happy 1st Birthday Bear!!

(joining in with Maxabella's Grateful List)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Pink Tutu Headband - creative space

A few weeks ago I had a go at making a headband to go with the no-sew tutu that I made for my little girl. Have a look here for lots of other creative ideas!
First I covered a headband with ribon, securing it to the headband using hot glue
I cut several pieces of tulle into small lengths, about 12 cm long
I attached them to the headband using the same method I used to make the no-sew tutus
And this is what it looked like finally done. My little girl won't try it on, but when my little boy put it on it made him look a bit like the statue of liberty. Might need a little bit of a trim.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tiger Mothers and Sport

My boys have just started playing cricket for a local team who are in need of players. I am filled with apprehension. We have gone down this path before, with cricket and other sports, and failed. My boys don't seem to have inherited the sporty gene. I don't have it either.

So far, the cricket is going well, but the others all started that way too, then slowly deteriorated as my boys realised that they weren't as good as some of the other boys. Footy was a fairly short lived affair in this household.

I don't care about them being good, I just want them to have fun. But there in lies the dilemma: do you need to be good at sport to enjoy it? 

I know that the answer to that question is probably no. For adults I think it is definitely a no. But as a child who wasn't good at sport, I always felt like I was letting the team down. I remember when I was about 9 and playing netball. I knew I wasn't as good as the others, and the rhetoric was, it is just fun, we are all just here to have fun, and everyone will get rotated through the positions, everyone will get a turn. But I didn't. I was nearly always Goal Keeper, because that was a position that was mostly sedentary, and needed the least ball skills and running skills. Apart from not having great ball or running skills, my biggest problem was that I was too polite and had a tendency to stand back and let the girl on the other team have the ball. My boys seem to have inherited my politeness, they don't have the killer instinct that comes in handy when playing sport.

On the day of the Netball Grand final, for some reason the coach decided not to give me a turn on the court. I knew that it was this way would give the team the best chance of winning, and I didn't even really want to play. I didn't want to let anyone down, but the message it sent was clear - you are the worst player on the team, and we have a better chance of winning if you don't play.

That stuck with me for a really long time.

In year 11 I took up hockey for the school's bottom team and had fun in sport for the first time. We weren't a good team, but we were the best in the grade, and had a lot of fun.

I don't want to pass my bad experiences with sport on to my boys. I'm  not the type of Australian who thinks that sport is everything, but at the same time I can see that it is pretty important to our culture, and that being good at it is rewarding and satisfying.

Amy Chua, the controversial 'Tiger Mother', says that to enjoy something you need to be good at it. A good article on her can be found here.  I'm pretty sure Amy Chua wouldn't advocate sport at all, but I can see her point, even if I would hesitate to push my kids that much.

I just want them to have fun, and at the moment that is what they are doing. But if they stop having fun? Should I let them give up? Should I push them harder so that they might have a chance of becoming good, and therefore more likely to enjoy it?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Not another Halloween Post

The other day Allison Tait over at the Pink Fibro wrote this brilliant post about Halloween. This post, together with most of the 47 odd comments on it, really summed up my feelings about Halloween. It is not 'our' tradition. We are Australian, and it just feels like a purely commercial exploitation of our society and in particular the children. Alison wrote how last year when trick or treaters turned up on her doorstep she politely and cheerfully told them sorry, we don't do Halloween.

We have been lucky enough to have never had trick or treaters knock on our door.... until last night that is. I was so grateful for having read Allison's post, and I, too, cheerfully and politely told them sorry - we don't do halloween. That was all fine, except that my boys turned on me after they had left, pointing out that obviously 'some' people do Halloween in Australia. Sure, but we don't, I explained.

Unfortunately to a 9 year old boy, getting dressed up in scary clothes, walking down the street in the dark and getting lots of lollies from strangers is pretty close to perfection. He was devastated that I wasn't going to change my mind. As I tried to console him, and as tears rolled down his cheeks, I thought that it is a bit like breaking a habit. People say that you can't get rid of a habit, you need to replace it. Maybe that is what I (or maybe we - in Australia) need to do. Instead of the American version of Halloween slowly creeping in to our culture to the point that it becomes virtually impossible to say no to our children, because 'everyone' else is doing it, perhaps we need to start our own 'tradition'.

Many people who commented on the post at Pink Fibro pointed out that it comes from a Pagan celebration, another person said that it also had roots from Mexican tradition. In fact, it is something that is celebrated in many countries around the world in some way, and is probably a combination of Christian and non-Christian traditions. Most countries around the world have a day or festival that honours the dead. Australia is possibly unusual for not having one.

When I lived in Sweden, I found their tradition of lighting candles in the graveyards that burn for a week (in the dark, snow covered graveyards), to be beautiful, sombre, and magical.

I'm not sure what I would like 'my' version of Halloween to be look like, but I am thinking of things along the lines of a sombre supper remembering the people who were close to us who are no longer with us. Sharing the memories of my Dad and my grandparents with my children, with good food, candles, soft music. Perhaps also dressing up in costumes (to keep my 9 year old happy).

What are your thoughts on Halloween? Do you think it is just a bit of fun? Do you dislike the commercial nature and Americanisation of our culture?
Do you like the idea of starting your own celebration? On your own terms? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

My (first) Creative Space

Today I am joining in here with Our Creative Spaces. I have been pursuing creative things more this year, especially in recent months, largely inspired by Emma from Frog, Goose and Bear.

This week I have finally made something which I have been planning on making since I saw it on Maxabella Loves when she started making rainbow tutus for her little girl's party.

Unforunately Molly won't try it on, so I don't know if it fits her, and I can't show a photo of her in it.