Wednesday, August 29, 2012


It is said that Fathers Day began in Spokane, Washington state in America on June 19 1910. The town, about 350ks east of Seattle, was home to Sonora Smart, the eldest and only girl of six children. Her mother had died giving birth to the sixth child, which left Sonora's father to totally parent the family. 
Sonora had great respect for her father, so on hearing about the newly established celebration of Mothers Day in 1908, she thought it appropriate to honour men like her father, and so began promoting the idea in her town. The celebration of Fathers Day did not have much success initially until the 1930's when again through Sonora's efforts, trade groups and manufacturers came onboard with her, leading to what we now experience as Fathers Day.
Sonora Smart married becoming Sonora Smart Dodd. She died in 1978 at the age of 96.
She needed and highly valued her father.
Do you need a father? Why do you need or not need a father?
I asked assorted people these two questions.
"Yes. I love him, he can play with me. And because he gives me things." B aged 4.
"Yes. As a girl growing up the best gift my Papa gave me was time. Time with him not only developed a relationship of love, trust and mutual interests between us but had a crucial part in developing me as a person. I definitely needed and still need a father in my life. Time spent in the garden when I was young, reading over my essays when I was a teenager, weekend breakfast and morning tea as I got older; all these moments taught me to value interaction with family, and what it was like to have the love and respect of a male. A good father teaches daughters to value and seek a loving, trustworthy male and not settle for less. My father has given me and continues to give me confidence. A father's praise increases and daughter's belief in herself. My Papa has molded me into a person of independent confidence, given me determination, eager to make her Dad proud. I'm always excited to spend time with my Dad."
G adult.
"Yes. He's a person that can teach us how to do things, teaches us right from wrong when we are younger. When we're older he's there to cheer us along in our endeavours. A good dad is also always there when we need him and lets us know he loves us whether it's through words (not every dad's style) or he may be more of an action dad."
I adult.
"Yes. He settles the arguments. We need a boss in our house otherwise I am the boss. He plays with me."
J aged 7.
"Yes. So my cocky young male pride gets put back in its proper place."
J teenager.
"Yes. You need a father. As a girl fathers are so important as a close key male figure in your life. This is an important grounding for later healthy relationships with boyfriends and or then spouse."
L adult.
"Yes. To encourage me, like in my sport and my music."
L teenager.
"Yes. Because we're little and not smart and because else you won't learn to be tough."
L aged 10.
"Yes. You do kind of need a father because he does work and gets money for food."
P aged 7.
"No. While I enjoy that emotional family support it's not something that is necessary for me to stay alive. For me now it's an encouraging extra."
R adult.
If you are a father you may like to read the following posts on what your daughters and sons need from their father.
"What Daughters Need from Their Fathers" Week 16 Quote 16
"What Does a Son Need from His Dad?" Week 18 Quote 18 (Part 1)
"What Does a Son Need from His Dad?" Week 19 Quote 19 (Part 2)
"What Does a Son Need from His Dad?" Week 20 Quote 20 (Part 3)
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ you may care to ask your kids "Do you need a father?" "Why do you need or not need a father?" and find out what they're thinking. It's undeniable that FATHERS have a huge role to play in their children's lives. 
Here is a visual story of our dog, Dusty taking on Fatherhood - it took time but he really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


"There is nothing like a magic food. You have to eat a variety of foods and lead an active lifestyle in order to be healthy. There is no scientific evidence to suggest any one nutrient or food can make much difference on its own because we food and meals, not single nutrients."
Sarah Hanraham from New Zealand Nutrition Foundation. Sunday Star Times, New Zealand Herald. August 2012.
This quote was from a discussion Sarah was having about "superfoods" and the claimed huge benefits they can have on our health. Sarah was discouraging of a list of superfoods directing how we eat, rather she recommended eating plenty of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables daily. "Eating a rainbow everyday is the most "super" thing you can do for your body and mind."

 MOROCCAN LENTILS WITH POTATO  (40 mins to prepare and cook)
Serves 5 adults.
LENTILS were first on Sarah Hanraham's list of proteins and many nutritionists encourage including them in your diet.
The combined nutritional benefits of the ingredients in this meal are high sources of Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Riboflavin, Vitamin A,B,C,E,K, Folate, Manganese, Magnesium, Selenium, and Potassium.
The health benefits from these ingredients include Lowering Cholesterol, Reducing risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Prostate Cancer, Preventing Constipation, Maintaining Blood Sugar and Heart-Healthy foods.
 Shop with a list (if you need ideas here, this post may be of help - "SOME PLANS TO SIMPLIFY HOUSEHOLD JOBS - PART 5 GROCERY SHOPPING"), but always be flexible once you see prices and swap ingredients to keep the cost down.
Some vegetables seem to be around all year - potato, onion, garlic and chilli. Green vegetables however are more seasonal. Always buy seasonal vegetables as they will be fresher, nutritionally better quality and usually cheaper in cost. Instead of Broccoli and Silverbeet, you could use Beans, Spinach, Kale, Celery, Cabbage, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts or Lettuce (yes you can cook Lettuce).
The large Chilli I used could be replaced with 1 -2 dessertspoons of Chilli Powder. I chose to use Coriander and Cummin but you can use Curry Powder. 
2 cups Red Lentils
4 cups Water
2 slurps Olive Oil
4 medium Potatoes cubed
2 Onions chopped
4 Garlic cloves crushed
1 -2 Tbsp Cummin
1 - 2 Tbsp Coriander
2 cups saved Vegetable Water (from previous cooking OR Chicken Stock)
1 large Chilli seeded crushed
6 leaves Silverbeet shredded 
1 Broccoli finely sliced.
Half a Pumpkin peeled and cut up
1. Put Lentils and Water in a pot with lid and bring to the boil. Turn down low, simmer 10 mins.
2. Peel and cut up Potatoes.
3. In a large frypan heat oil. Add Potatoes, put on the lid and cook for 10 mins, stirring regularly so the potato doesn't stick to the bottom.
4. Peel and chop Onions. Peel Garlic, cut and seed Chilli then crush together in a mortar and pestle.
5. Add Onion, Garlic/Chilli, Cummin and Coriander to the frypan and stir every few minutes. Lid on and cook 10 mins.
6. Boil a pot of water, then peel and cut up the Pumpkin (or yellow vegetable). Pop Pumpkin pieces into the water once it boils.
7. Add Vegetable Water, Lentils and half the Silverbeet to the frypan and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer with lid on for 5 mins.
8. Add remaining Green vegetables, Salt and Pepper if you wish and cook 5 mins.
 ORANGES AND CREAM  (5 mins to prepare)
Serves 5 adults.
7 Oranges
<half 300ml Cream
1. Peel oranges and chunky cut each into 5 slices.
2. If you wish to keep with the Moroccan theme you can sprinkle 1 tsp Cinnamon and a pinch of Cardamon over the sliced Orange.
3. Serve with a generous slurp or two of pouring cream. 
All ingredients were bought at Pak'nSave Albany, Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday August 22, 2012. This is New Zealand's cheapest supermarket.
While preparing the meal enjoy the beautiful artsy images that are there for you to find, such as the pattern that the condensation on the lid of the frypan makes, here.
 THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~  happy cooking.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I was given a copy of this article from the New York Times. Here it is for you to read.
If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.
Notice it isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the I.C.U. or commuting by bus to three minimum-wage jobs  who tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s almost always people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety,  because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.
Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work. They schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.’s  make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications. I recently wrote a friend to ask if he wanted to do something this week, and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch work for a few hours. I wanted to clarify that my question had not been a preliminary heads-up to some future invitation; thiswas the invitation. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting out at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.
Even children are busy now, scheduled down to the half-hour with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as grown-ups. I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it. Not long ago I  Skyped with a friend who was driven out of the city by high rent and now has an artist’s residency in a small town in the south of France. She described herself as happy and relaxed for the first time in years. She still gets her work done, but it doesn’t consume her entire day and brain. She says it feels like college — she has a big circle of friends who all go out to the cafe together every night. She has a boyfriend again. (She once ruefully summarized dating in New York: “Everyone’s too busy and everyone thinks they can do better.”) What she had mistakenly assumed was her personality — driven, cranky, anxious and sad — turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment. It’s not as if any of us wants to live like this, any more than any one person wants to be part of a traffic jam or stadium trampling or the hierarchy of cruelty in high school — it’s something we collectively force one another to do.
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’ĂȘtre was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.
I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day. And if you call me up and ask whether I won’t maybe blow off work and check out the new American Wing at the Met or ogle girls in Central Park or just drink chilled pink minty cocktails all day long, I will say, what time?
But just in the last few months, I’ve insidiously started, because of professional obligations, to become busy. For the first time I was able to tell people, with a straight face, that I was “too busy” to do this or that thing they wanted me to do. I could see why people enjoy this complaint; it makes you feel important, sought-after and put-upon. Except that I hate actually being busy. Every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve. It got more and more intolerable until finally I fled town to the Undisclosed Location from which I’m writing this.
Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. There is no TV. To check e-mail I have to drive to the library. I go a week at a time without seeing anyone I know. I’ve remembered about buttercups, stink bugs and the stars. I read. And I’m finally getting some real writing done for the first time in months. It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking.
“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke, who found time between scuba diving and pinball games to write “Childhood’s End” and think up communications satellites. My old colleague Ted Rall recently wrote a column proposing that we divorce income from work and give each citizen a guaranteed paycheck, which sounds like the kind of lunatic notion that’ll be considered a basic human right in about a century, like abolition, universal suffrage and eight-hour workdays. The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.
Perhaps the world would soon slide to ruin if everyone behaved as I do. But I would suggest that an ideal human life lies somewhere between my own defiant indolence and the rest of the world’s endless frenetic hustle. My role is just to be a bad influence, the kid standing outside the classroom window making faces at you at your desk, urging you to just this once make some excuse and get out of there, come outside and play. My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.

The ‘Busy’ Trap

Tim Kreider is the author of “We Learn Nothing,” a collection of essays and cartoons. His cartoon, “The Pain — When Will It End?” has been collected in three books by Fantagraphics.
What do you think of this article?
Do you fit into this 'busy' category?
Do you think Tim is fair in his comments?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ ensure they have lots of time to play, think, imagine and 'be'. You may find some help in these posts, if you're looking for help in these areas. Effects of Play Week 4 Quote 4 , Play Develops Creativity, Innovation and Imagination Week 32 Quote 32 , Fast-paced Living Week 58 Quote 58

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This is PART 2 - the continuation of an article written by Virginia Woolf titled "How Should One Read a Book?" found in The Parents Review magazine. Karen Andreola the editor, says she has slightly abridged the original article. Part 1 can be found
"But we tire of rubbish-reading in the long run. .... These writers had not the artist's power of mastering and eliminating;.... they have disfigured the story that might have been so shapely. Facts are all that they can offer us, and facts are a very inferior form of fiction. Thus the desire grows upon us to have done with half-statements and approximations; to cease from searching out the minute shades of human character, to enjoy the greater abstractness, the purer type of fiction.

... if we are to get the whole pleasure from a book by another ... the first process, to receive impressions with the utmost understanding, is only half the process of reading;...we must pass judgement on these multitudinous impressions; we must make of these fleeting shapes one that is hard and lasting. But not directly. Wait for the dust of reading to settle; for the conflict and the questioning to die down; walk, talk, pull the dead petals from the rose, or fall asleep. Then suddenly without our willing it ... the book will return, but differently. It will float to the top of the mind as a whole. And the book as a whole is different from the book received currently in separate phases. Details now fit themselves into their places. ... 
Now then we can compare book with book ... But this act of comparison means that our attitude has changed; we are no longer the friends of the writer, but his judges.
... Let us then be severe on our judgements; let us compare each book with the greatest of its kind. There they hang in the mind the shapes of the books we have read, solidified by the judgments we have passed on them ... Compare the novels with these - even the latest and least of the novels has a right to be judged with the best. ...
It would be foolish, then to pretend that the second part of reading, to judge, to compare, is as simple as the first - to open the mind wide to the fast flocking of innumerable impressions. To continue reading without the book before you, to hold one shadow-shape against another, to have read widely enough and with enough understanding to make such comparisons alive and illuminating - that is difficult; it is still more difficult to press further and say, "Not only is the book of this sort, but it is of this value; here it fails; here it succeeds; this is bad; that is good."
... To carry out this part of a reader's duty needs such imagination, insight, and learning that it is hard to conceive any one mind sufficiently endowed; impossible for the most self-confident to find more than the seeds of such powers in himself. Would it not be wiser then to remit this part of reading and to allow the critics, the gowned and furred authorities of the library, to decide the question of the book's absolute value for us? Yet how impossible! We may stress the value of sympathy; we may try to sink our own identity as we read. But we know that we cannot sympathize wholly or immerse ourselves wholly; there is always a demon in us who whispers, "I hate, I love," and we cannot silence him. Indeed it is precisely because we hate  and we love that our relation with the poets and novelists is so intimate that we find the presence of another person intolerable. And even if the results are abhorrent and our judgments are wrong, still our taste, the nerve of sensation that sends shocks through us, is our chief illuminant; we learn through feeling; we cannot suppress our own idiosyncrasy without impoverishing it. 
But as time goes on perhaps we can train our taste; perhaps we can make it submit to some control. When it has fed greedily and lavishly upon books of all sorts - poetry, fiction, history, biography - and has stopped reading and looked for long spaces upon the variety, the incongruity of the living world, we shall find that it is changing a little; it is not so greedy, it is more reflective. It will begin to bring us not merely judgments on particular books, but it will tell us that there is a quality common to certain books. ...
Thus with our taste to guide us, we shall venture beyond the particular book in search of qualities that group books together;... We shall gain a further and a rarer pleasure from that discrimination.
... it may be well to turn to the very rare writers who are able to enlighten us upon literature as an art. Coleridge and Dryden and Johnson, in their considered criticism, the poets and novelists themselves in their unconsidered sayings, are often surprisingly relevant; they light up and solidify the vague ideas that have been tumbling in the misty depths of our minds. But they are only able to help us if we come to them laden with questions and suggestions won honestly in the course our own reading. They can do nothing for us if we herd ourselves under their authority and lie down like sheep in the shade of a hedge. We can only understand their ruling when it comes in conflict with our own and vanquishes it.
... if to read a book as it should be read calls for the rarest qualities of imagination, insight and judgment, you may perhaps conclude that literature is a very complex art and that it is unlikely that we shall be able, even after a lifetime of reading, to make any valuable contribution to its criticism.
We must remain readers; we shall not put on the further glory that belongs to those rare beings who are also critics. But still we have our responsibilities as readers and even our importance. The standards we raise and the judgments we pass steal into the air and become part of the atmosphere which writers breathe as they work. ... And that influence, if it were well instructed, vigorous and individual and sincere, might be of great value now when criticism is necessarily in abeyance;... 
If ... the author felt that there was another kind of criticism, the opinion of people reading for the love of reading, slowly and unprofessionally and with great severity, might this not improve the quality of his work? And if by our means books were to become stronger, richer, and more varied, that would be an end worth reaching.
Yet who reads to bring about an end, however desirable? Are there not some pursuits that we practice because they are good in themselves, and some pleasures that are final? And is this not among them?"
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS~ take a break from watching the Olympics on the TV, turn off the technology and get everyone to settle down with a physical book to read for an hour or so.