Last coffee

Coffee in rose cupMade with a fair trade coffee bag, with some maple syrup and vanilla thrown in, because I don’t like black coffee. Originally I was going to make my last cup of coffee black, unflavoured, so I would remember it as a not-too-enjoyable experience, and hopefully miss it less. In the end, I couldn’t face it, and I was probably deluding myself anyway.

I had a dream about my Nonna this morning. I won’t share it here, but it made me think of her. I don’t claim to be psychic, but it also made me worry a little. Interestingly, Nonna liked her coffee black, with nothing added. Maybe she still does, but I’m not sure. We haven’t had coffee together in a very long time. However, when she was moving into a nursing home and they were cleaning up her old house, her good tea set was discovered, and the decision was made to divide it up among her granddaughters, so that we would all have a little something to remember her by. I keep my part - a cup, saucer and side plate - in the china cabinet, and on her birthday I use it as my little remembrance gesture.

Today, I pulled the set out of the cabinet for my last coffee. It’s not her birthday, but I decided that the dream had brought Nonna to mind for something, and that a black coffee was as appropriate as anything. OK, so I added stuff to mine, but still…

I had intended to sit outside and drink it in a quiet moment, but ended up drinking it quickly and retreating back inside out of the chilly wind.

Of course, I’ve chosen a pretty challenging time to do this; the weather is cooling, soccer season is back, and there is a terribly tempting mobile coffee van that is tantalisingly close during Friday afternoon training and Saturday morning games. Summer would have been a lot easier, but obviously I still didn’t manage it then.

It may seem silly to make a big deal over a coffee, but as some of you will have noticed, coffee seems to be one of the most difficult things for me to give up. And I’ve realised, increasingly often of late, that I really, really need to. Posting it here, making it public and almost ceremonial, may help to keep me on track. Even if nobody else keeps me honest, I’ll know I put it here, and at the very least, will feel guilty if I slip. ;)

Rosehip tea in rose cupSince I’m working on my iron intake, and rosehips are supposed to be a good source of vitamin C (good for assisting iron absorption), I actually had a rosehip “tea” in the cup with lunch. I honestly don’t know how much vitamin C is left once it’s been dried and packed in a tea bag, but it has to be better than iron-blocking caffeine - and I actually like it without anything added, too! So there’s a good chance that my next drink from Nonna’s cup will look more like this one. And really, what could be more appropriate for a cup of roses than a cup of rosehip tea?


I’m sitting here having another rosehip tea in Nonna’s cup, because tonight I found out that she’s not well at the moment, and she could probably use a few extra prayers and good thoughts.

Permalink Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 7:57 pm, by Mamma Email , 565 words, Categories: Health, Addiction, Caffeine/coffee ,

Lest we forget

Today is ANZAC Day. We remember the soldiers who fell, fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today. I appreciate the sacrifice made by so many soldiers and the families that were waiting for them to come home.

And then I wonder what freedoms we really have in this country.

I guess they mean “democracy”. Apparently, that’s what we have. We can vote for our representatives and leaders, and we can trust that the majority will win. We can trust that we won’t be killed for complaining about our government. We can choose to follow any religion.

But what else?

Our State Government has announced that they will be adding fluoride to our water. No public debate, no referendum. “It’s good for you and if you don’t want it, buy a filter”. Too bad if you can’t afford one. Oh, and it was announced just before Christmas - you know, when everybody is busy thinking about other stuff - and the opportunity for objection was small and not well publicised.

Right now, as I type, pregnant and labouring women everywhere are being bullied, coerced, guilted and threatened into unnecessary interventions, tests and procedures. “It’s good for you and if you don’t you’ll kill your baby” (and the obstetrician prefers to work only during business hours - but s/he’s not telling you that). Our caesarean rate is currently over 30%. It should be at least half of that or less. Doctors tell us that women are asking for them. It’s their choice, their right, their freedom. Apparently. Don’t worry about that whole “full informed choice” thing. Don’t tell us about the risks that increase with every subsequent pregnancy. In some places, women are going “underground” to get the care that they need, because the people who actually care about them aren’t allowed to legally do what they do. In the U.S., whose obstetrical model we are following all too closely, homebirth midwives have been arrested, and their lives destroyed, because they dared to care, and took business away from the big guys.

Right now, as I type, diagnoses of all sorts of diseases are being made. People, and in particular parents of sick children, are being railroaded into all sorts of “treatments”. No option to explore alternatives. Threats of reporting to authorities if “treatment” is refused. I’m reminded constantly of how lucky we really have been.

Genetically modified things are being planted and produced without adequate safety studies or community consultation. We don’t have a say in something that can never be undone. The gene pool of many seeds is under threat and farmers are being crushed by the big GMO manufacturers. Even certain organic crops are being threatened with contamination that cannot be reversed.

Meanwhile, natural foods are made illegal for our “safety” - even though they have done far less harm than many “foods” found in abundance on the supermarket shelves. I’m not talking about marijuana (in case you were wondering), I mean things like raw almonds (in the U.S., I don’t think Australia is considering this… yet) and raw milk. Organic foods are still expensive and more difficult to obtain than mass-produced, pesticide-laden versions. We don’t have the complete, equal freedom to choose the foods we consider to be healthy for ourselves.

The allopathic medicine industry continually looks for ways to take away our choices in natural and alternative medicines while endorsing the latest, greatest drug. There has already been one major scare in recent years, threatening the future of alternative medicines. Ironically, the latest discovery I heard about is a “plant extract” that, added to a vaccine, supposedly promises to make it many times more effective. Apparently natural plant extracts are OK, as long as they’re in a drug.

Education… maybe I shouldn’t even start on that one…

So on this ANZAC Day, as we remember the fallen soldiers of wars past and present, we must also remember those who continue to fight our everyday battles for true democracy and freedom.

Lest we forget.

Permalink Friday, 25 April, 2008 10:30 pm, by Mamma Email , 668 words, Categories: Rantings, Thoughts, Health, Food ,

Don't ask me how I am...

… because I might tell you :))

But seriously…

I’m doing some major reassessment of my life. I believe I - ahem - “forgot” to mention here that I fell off the giving-up-coffee wagon a couple of weeks after I jumped on it. I didn’t last through Lent. Not even close. So anyway, between the whole getting-the-kid-to-school-on-time thing and the going-to-bed-earlier-but-not-early-enough thing, the coffee sneaked back in again. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse that I’m now seeing it as medicinal and not totally enjoyable.

Meanwhile, a whole bunch of other health issues have sort of come to a head. My homoeopath suspects I have uterine fibroids, I’m still considering getting the extra thyroid tests I was considering months ago, and yesterday I developed an insanely itchy “rash” on my left arm, as well as on a small section of my torso. I had a similar one on my neck and shoulder area about a month ago, which lasted a week. While both happened after potentially irritating bugs had been discovered in the vicinity, the rashes can’t totally be attributed to them, I don’t think. I won’t go into gory details regarding the main symptom that hints at fibroids, but let’s just say I’m not enjoying that either.

I’ve been doing some reading, and I’ve come back to a shortlist of things that I need to work on. It seems that the whole entire list of “stuff” can potentially be attributed to imbalances caused by, affecting, or combining:
1. liver;
2. oestrogen dominance;
3. toxins, pollutants or detoxification thereof, including heavy metals (e.g. mercury);
4. deficiency of particular vitamins and minerals;
5. stress.
Numbers 2 and 3 can affect liver function, 3 can affect 2, 1 is needed to deal with 2 and 3… 4 and 5 just make the whole thing worse etc.

I’ve finally given in and bought the progesterone cream my GP prescribed. I’m hoping that will help with #2, and I’m hoping like mad that this rash is not from the cream!

Meanwhile, I’m slowly weaning off the coffee (again!), starting to cut out a few extra things from my diet, or at least being more strict than I was, weighing up the pros and cons of being tested for fibroids, and trying to glean my own thoughts from the various opinions on whether or not phytoestrogens are actually bad for somebody with oestrogen dominance.

If you’re brave enough ;D to start a more in-depth discussion with me, or even to throw some more ideas my way, you’d be most welcome. I’m particularly interested in the “to test or not to test” fibroid argument, as well as the “phytoestrogens - good or bad idea?” debate. I’m planning to go back to the GP in a couple of weeks with my plan of action.

Permalink Wednesday, 23 April, 2008 12:49 pm, by Mamma Email , 453 words, Categories: Medical tests, Anxiety & stress, Big questions, Health, Addiction, Caffeine/coffee ,

To my dear friend...

“Γιε μου” … “My son” …

Last night, at choir rehearsal, we were singing these words. They are part of a Greek musical work based on an epic poem, and they are the words uttered by a grief-stricken mother whose teenage son has been killed.

The harmonies are beautiful, and I was enjoying the sounds we were making. We know what the work is about, but it’s easy to forget what the individual words are actually describing when you’re singing in Greek, and you don’t understand most of it. It’s one of those songs that is so sad, yet so beautiful all at once, that you almost feel guilty for enjoying it. During this particular part, the voices are written to sound like sighs, the music is haunting, and the woman next to me mentioned the word “sobbing”.

Suddenly the song’s meaning changed for me. I started to think of you, my friend, losing your baby boy during labour only the day before. I thought of you holding the baby you had been growing for nine months, waiting to meet him and get to know him, only to have that taken away - again. I know this is not your first loss. I am still trying to understand, and probably never will. I have ached for you ever since I heard the news. It just seems so unfair. So last night, as my voice caught in my throat and I struggled to regain my composure, I allowed myself to think of you, to offer the music as a prayer for you and your family, and to hold that space for you.

This morning, while attending my son’s school assembly and listening to their ANZAC service (for this Friday) my thoughts were still with you. As we pray for the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our freedoms, I think of the lives lost fighting for freedom in birth. I think of the mothers who lost their sons in war, and I think of you, dear friend, and so many mothers with complications in post-caesarean pregnancies, wondering how many more will suffer for that scar. Those words - “We will remember… Lest We Forget” - are just as appropriate in remembering the sweet babies…

And this morning, as the haunting solo trumpet/bugle (a CD recording, but a beautiful rendition) played “The Last Post”, I found the emotions welling up yet again.

As I have found, time and time again throughout my life, if I can’t find the words, there is always music.

Dear friend, you are in my thoughts and my prayers. I have tried to find the “right” words, but they’re just not there. Yet every time I sing that song, and the words, Γιε μου, I will be thinking of you and praying for you.

Permalink Monday, 21 April, 2008 1:20 pm, by Mamma Email , 462 words, Categories: Miscellaneous ,

April is Cesarean Awareness Month













April is Cesarean Awareness Month. For more information, please click on the ribbon, or here.

Permalink Tuesday, 1 April, 2008 12:00 pm, by Mamma Email , 26 words, Categories: Health, Awareness ,

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