I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Honour In Admitting Defeat

So I applied for this totally amazing job - really, in the category of that supposedly unattainable 'dream job' category. I got the job. I started the job. I resigned three days after I started it. I hated the job. At first I felt like a complete failure - but then I sat down and gave myself a stern talking to (and also got talked to by DH, and various excellent women friends). The reality is I CAN DO the job I was hired to do. Like my blog proclaims right at the top, I'm a damn fine pastry chef. However, the ability to do a job does not translate into the desire to to a job where the environment is toxic. I chose to leave that 'dream job' because basically I went home crying each of those 3 days. I am not, by nature, a crier (except maybe when I read those Nestle ads, LOL!) On the one hand, it's totally embarassing to have 'talked up' this job to all and sundry and then to have to admit that I hated nearly every minute of it. I have to go back to my family and friends and say, "Hey, you know that brilliant job I wouldn't shut up about? Yes, well, it's GAME OVER." What I have come to realise is, there is no shame in that. I hated the environment (physical as well as social) and I just didn't really fit in with the rest of the team. Additionally the hours and flexibility required would have put a major strain on my family....and there are not enough pastries in the world to equal the value of my family. I've only got ONE shot at raising these kids (since no others are planned) - and jobs, well, you know, there will always be someone wanting me to bake them something. I won't lie on my death bed thinking, "If only I'd spent more time piping buttercream shell borders!" I will lie on my deathbed thinking, "I made the right choices in my career, and if I didn't it doesn't matter since I'm lying here dying anyway." So this post is to say - there is great honour, not shame, in coming out and saying that while I could have chosen to stay, and probably made a great success of it - the choosing to leave is just as important. It has solidified for me the qualities I want in a job, the type of people I want to work with and for, and just how important the whole 'package' of a job is. At my old work there was a mature age apprentice who, after about 3 months, decided that commercial cooking wasn't for her - she loved the food, but hated working with it. I totally applaud her for making the career change in the first place (brave!) and then being even more brave in saying, you know what, this isn't for me! So, people - don't be afraid to just say, this isn't my thing. There will always, always, be other 'your things' out there.

...and on Monday I have three job interviews. So there!

Think Global, Bake Local

Okay so I knew there was something behind that whole Nestle ad which I liked. They've now come out with version two! You can read the entirety of the first one here. If I ever meet this copyrighter, I'm going to give them a big giant squishy HUG. This whole concept just totally rocks. It's so in tune with everything I believe, culinarily speaking and on a social awareness/responsibility level. I have often commited Random Acts of Sweetness, and while I know Nestle is known for doing nasty things in Third World Countries with baby formula, you have to applaud their efforts for campaigns like this one. Incidentally, at the website you can read all about the campaign, enter into their contest, bake their recipes, etc etc etc. Seriously, this is just TOO cool. Pity it's a giant multinational corporation, who stand to make gajillions from the sale of their chocolate products sold as a result of my shamelessly plugging them, but you know what? Who cares! I say YAY THEM. Go on, go bake something! (Baking, seriously, is the cheapest, yummiest, and most rewarding form of therapy there is, without the social stigma of having to say, "Yeah, well, I talked to my therapist about that.") Plus while there *is* a buzzer at the 45 minute mark, it's not to kick you out of the kitchen. It's just to tell you your luscious sweeties are ready for eating. You can't beat that...especially when you consider *just* how many bags of chocolate chips you could buy to cover just one measly three-quarters-of-an-hour with some famous therapist whose couch is uncomfortable anyway!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

RAS Recipe of the Week

I think I've made this recipe literally 25 or more times. The secret is in the mixing - make sure it's really light and fluffy. It's just scrummy, especially warm out of the oven. So invite someone over and have a slice of this cake and a cup of tea. You'll be glad you did.

Luscious Lemon Loaf

125g (4 oz) butter (at room temp if you can)
1 Cup caster sugar
2 eggs
Grated rind of one lemon
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk

extra 1/4 cup sugar
juice and rind of 1 large lemon

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a loaf tin. Cream butter until fluffy, gradually adding in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add in flour and milk alternatively, continually beating well. Stir in grated lemon rind. Pour into loaf tin and bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until golden and firm in the middle. In a small pot over a low flame, stir extra sugar and lemon juice and rin until sugar has dissolved and syrup is boiling (this takes only a minute or two). When cake comes out of the oven, poke all over with a wooden skewer. Pour hot syrup over hot cake slowly to allow the cake to absorb the syrup. Cool in tin (if you can wait that long). Eat warm or cold - either way it's delicious!


On Love

Last week the sicilian met someone who, by all acccounts thus far looks to be a keeper. Her glowing-from-within self and endless chatter about this blossoming relationship have me thinking about my own relationship, and about love in general. She asked me how I 'knew' that DH was the one for me...and I had two answers for her. First, within a few minutes of meeting him I felt as though I had known him my whole life. The same is true for him - even now he will recount stories and say, "don't you remember when that happened?" and the thing he is talking about happened long before I came on the scene. Second, within a few weeks of dating I would find myself contemplating the future (something I do a lot) and realising that my life would somehow be lacking if he were not in it. It's almost as though I simply could not bear the idea of living my life without his presence in it - as totally corny as that sounds, THAT was the impact our relationship had on me at the time (and still does.) Much more than loving and adoring him, I respect him. I think he's a great father, a good squingineer, and above all I just think he is a good PERSON. I respect his opinion, admire his intellect, and am often amazed at how far he will go to do the right thing for someone or some greater good. Of course I don't think he is perfect - and believe me, he doesn't think I am either (frankly we can be downright irritating and annoying people) - but overall he and I just fit together well.

Several people over the years have commented about just how well DH and I seem to get along - our relationship is one of those rare gifts. After nearly 9 years of marriage (and 10 years together), we are as lovey-dovey sickening as ever. If work or other things keep us from having some decent cuddle time together, we miss each other. It's not unusual to talk or SMS on the phone 3 or more times a day. DH is significantly older than I am (coincidentally, as is the sicilian's new love) and my only concern about this is his dying before I do. You know how you hear about old people dying, and their otherwise healthy husband/wife dies within a few months? I truly believe those people die of broken hearts, and I truly believe that would be me. Statistically it's what may happen, but the reality of it is I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, leaving him to outlive me by many years. When I contemplated our future together, I thought about that - his age I mean - did I want to be at a healthy 40 or 50 years old, either looking after an invalid old man, or being all alone? The answer then is the same as it is now - I'd gladly have a short, wonderful life with someone I totally adore, then a long, simple life with someone I merely loved. There is a difference.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It Takes A Village

The trio go to what I would consider a very small school - from kindergarten to sixth grade, maybe a couple of hundred kids or less. The second grade has no boys, most of the grades have only one 'room', and in fourth grade there are only 12 kids. It is highly likely that the entirety of their kindergarten class will number less than 20. So, this blog is to ask - are smaller schools better? Now I have to admit my own bias here. I went to enormous primary, middle, and high school. Not as big as some, but still big. I think my high school graduating class had over 300 people in it, maybe more. At the trio's school, people I have never met before know my name, my DH's name, my kids' names. They know more about me than, frankly, I want them to know. There have been moments when this makes me uncomfortable. I'm not a hugely 'private' person - but I don't like people knowing things I haven't told them first. I want to have all of the 'telling them' power, you know? It just totally spins me out when people say things to me on the playground, in class, etc, and I've never clapped eyes on these people before. I'm not talking, "Oh, hi, you're J's Mom, nice to meet you." I'm talking, "So I heard your DH was ill recently, and you've got a new job, and you had lamb chops for dinner last night. How's things?"

There really is no need for me to feel uncomfortable about this. The reality of it is, by sheer virtue of BEING a trio in a small environment (read: the Melbourne Jewish community), we as a family are famous if we like it or not. Mostly I don't mind it. However in their school, it's an very small environment and everyone knows everyone else's business. It's like that proverbial village, only one where you have to pay to live there and also wear a uniform. I'm undecided if this is a good thing or not - for the children I think it is. They know everyone (teachers in other grades, kids in other grades) so for them it is a warm, friendly, familiar environment. Certainly they seem to like it, otherwise we wouldn't keep them there! I'm not so sure I am loving small towne-ness of it though...like I said, it just makes me feel kinda wierd sometimes. I worry about other parents or teachers judging me or the children based on what they may have heard. I wonder what preconceived notions teachers may get of my kids before they've even set foot in their classrooms. Similarly, though, what they may know of them from earlier interactions may help them to tailor their teaching to my kids' needs. I just don't know. How will this small, protective environment set them up for the big bad world of high school, where they perhaps will not get the same attention?

It does take a village to raise a child...just sometimes I wonder if a small city weren't better choice. I suppose only time will tell.

...and I find myself still wishing that parenthood came with a decent "For Dummies" book.

Wednesday Entertainment

This video clip is hilarious - I mean, who thinks of these things? The scary thing is apparently this really works...and if DH lets me I might give it a whirl this weekend. I'm sure the kids would have fun with it but I'm not so sure DH would be impressed with my wasting his precious Pepsi Max. The video reminds me of that show "Mythbusters" where they test some common scientifc theories and urban legends to see if they are truly possible or not. It amazes me what lengths these guys go to, just to prove (or disprove!) a point. I think they've got far too much time on their hands...and in two days, so will I! I've got 2 shifts left at my current job and then I get the WHOLE weekend off. I think it's only the second time in a year or so that I've had both Saturday and Sunday off. My plans include being indulgent and sleeping in A LOT, reading the paper on BOTH days, and annoying the heck out of DH and kidlets by being in their way. Ahh, paradise....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

RAS Recipe of the Week

RAS = Random Act of Sweetness - see my earlier post about this for more info. Anyway this week's recipe makes quite a large cake, so it's perfect for sharing. It's also made with olive oil and blueberries, so you could even argue that it's good for you! I've made this cake several times with great success. It's quite a rustic cake - simple yet completely gorgeous to eat. Especially good with a cup of tea and some decent chatter with a friend. I'm going to keep posting one great baking recipe a week, to encourage those random acts of sweetness - so please email or post a note to let me know if you tried the recipes and of course how it went!

Olive Oil Blueberry Cake
Serves 10

4 eggs at room temp
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup extra light olive oil (note not extra virgin)
1 cup apricot nectar
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
300g blueberries (fresh, frozen, canned..up to you.)

Preheat oven to 170C (375F). Grease a large baking tin - say about 23 cm diameter if it's a circle, and 28x22cm is it's rectangular. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed until mixture is pale and thick. Stir in olive oil and nectar. Sift flour and baking powder over the mixture and gently fold in until just combined. Pour half the mixture into the tin. Top with half the blueberries, then put the rest of the mixture in. Top with remaining blueberries. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp dusted with icing sugar (or premium vanilla ice cream, YUM!)


Saturday, June 17, 2006

End of the innocence

Monday is my very last day at culinary school. That's it. Finished. Fini. No more. Arrivedercci (or however that is spelled). Sayonara, shalom and goodnight. It is amazing to think that 18+ months of hard work, spectaular successes and some notable failures will all end on Monday. As it happens I get to finish on a high note - one pastillage showpiece (a peacock. I hate it. I could have and should have done much better) and a chocolate showpiece (theme yet to be determined...) So it's going to be a challenging day, which is fitting for a person like myself who thrives on challenge. I'm immensely proud to have finished my course but also slightly terrified - I can't hide behind the "but I'm still in training" cloak anymore. Time to stand on my own two chocolate covered, flour dusted feet. I do wonder about the future of my classmates - will the ones I think are full of promise really fulfill that promise? Will the ones I think are destined to never be pastry chefs, prove me wrong? Will the ones who are so brilliant and yet lack confidence, somehow find their way? Will I ever see any of them again? I approach Monday with bittersweet feelings - excited for myself, sad at the idea of not seeing these people as often as I have seen them. Weeks, months, years of cheering one another on, of stressing over exams, sharing homework woes and teacher complaints, celebrating one another's triumph over the injustices of ovens that don't work, sugar which doesn't stick, and cooking partners who don't seem to know their pastry from their ...well, anything really. THESE are the people who made it possible for me to succeed thus far, the people to whom I am eternally grateful. Their laughter, tears, and endless supply of dodgy food from vending machines has made it all worth it.

So - Sheridan, Jess L, Jess F, Christian, Jana, and even Giselle: Thank you. I couldn't have done it without you, and I hope we continue to share the amazing support we've built thus far.

Wouldn't it be nice?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Stay At Home Parents

There is no way in the known universe that I would be capable of being a stay-at-home parent. This of course goes back to the fact that my personality is just not particularly maternal. On a more basic level, I just can't cope - with the mess, the noise, the need for constant entertainment (theirs and mine), and all the things that go along with staying at home with kids. It goes without saying that I adore my kids, but I don't adore playgroups with bitchy women, doing housework of any kind, coming up with crafts for the kids to do, and in general being a one woman summer camp. I totally admire these women who stay at home with their kids - of differing ages, usually - and adore every minute of it. The kids whose first taste of organised care is when they go to Kindergarten. The parents who really were there for every moment of their children's young lives. I tried to be a SAHM (stay at home Mom) but failed dismally. I enjoyed the time I had with them, but enjoyed it far more when I worked part time and didn't see them all the time. Did I ever feel like I was missing out? Yes, sometimes. It stabbed another dagger through my heart when the nanny or MIL told me of some milestone they had reached when I wasn't there. Do I feel that they missed out on something? No, quite the opposite. They aren't going to remember if I was there for their first 'gaa gaa' but they will remember having a happy, mostly calm, well adjusted mother. If I had been home with them 24/7, they would have had a harried, stressed out, highly irritable mother. I think the worst enemies of mothers in the world today are ... other mothers. The ones that judge you if you: work, choose not to breast feed, don't go all organic, use pacifiers...you get the idea. At the end of the day the best parent is the one who ensures their child is fed, warm, clean, and happy. If you do that via a bottle and a pacifier, SO BE IT. It doesn't matter, really, how you do it, as long as you do it. Parents, let's be more kind to one another. We're all in this together, raising the next generation.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Kindness of Strangers

Shortly after DH & I found out it would take a medical miracle for us to conceive naturally, I joined an Internet support forum. It was random - one of the first ones I clicked on when doing some research about our respective infertility issues. That forum turned out to be one of the best things I ever did - it gave me scores of information that I otherwise would not have known, made friends I would keep, helped me raise my children, and reminded me of what a small world we live in. I am still a part of that forum, even though now I have graduated from the IVF side of it to the parenting side of it. The thing which never ceases to amaze me, though, is how much those forums have become a community. A community in every sense - one where neighbours trade recipes and parenting tips, share grief over losses and share joy over successes and newborns. On several occassions I have met a number of these people - people who gladly welcomed me and my children into their homes, even though we had never met in real life previously. Without fail all of them have been the sort of people I would be firm friends with in real life. We are talking about a large community - several hundred members - and yet they all still find time to be supportive of one another. Why is it that way? Primarily I think because they know, when it's their time for support, those people will give back what they got in spades. It just amazes me that this small little corner of the 'net has such an amazingly warm atmosphere - which is strange when you consider the 'atmosphere' I'm talking about is global, and made by people who have not met in real life (well, the majority have not.) This week one member went into unexpected labour (unprepared, DH out of town) - and called another member who she had only met a few days previous - for help. Not surprisingly that person came to her aid without delay. How amazing is that? That we can be standing right NEXT TO someone who needs help, and choose to do nothing ... but that we will go running for someone we know hardly at all, simply because we share the same community.

I guess it's true what they say - it's a small world after all!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Commit Random Acts of Sweetness

In a Nestle ad I read recently, the (condensed) text said:

"The thing is, there is something about the act of baking for someone - a family member, friend, workmate, the Dalai Lama, anybody really - that gives you, the giver, an incredible buzz, especially when it's done for no particular reason. Whether it's your humble choccy cupccake or some oooh-look-at-me triplet chocolate torte, it's not about the degree of difficulty; you won't lose any marks for technical merit or artistic impression. It's the simple fact of having made it yourself that gives it the piece of cake de resistance, because the most essential ingredients are your thoughtfulness and spontenaity: your mojo. The real beauty of this - the icing on the cupcake, if you like - is that the sweetness rubs off. It's way more contagious than mumps, and encourages others to be sweet. To help a stranger. To bake caramel banana muffins for a homeless shelter. To lay down arms. It starts with the high (not to be confused with anything illegal) you get from your own efforts, followed by the rush of euphoria felt by the lucky recipient of your random act. And then, after receiving this wondrous gift, this Act of Sweetness, chances are your friend will be inspired to commit them too. ....Before you know it, the sweetness spreads, each random act inspiring another in a slowly expanding, chocolatey wave that could eventually circle the globe. And wherever sweetness grows, violence diminishes. Anger dissipates. Bridges are built. The world becomes a better place. Paris Hilton might even get a job. Anything's possible....so don't just sit there. Bake something. Your kitchen - and the world - needs you."

I didn't write this gorgeous bit of copy, but I wish I did. It's like a pastry pay-it-forward mantra. It's says (better than I could, I'm sure) why I love the act of baking and cooking - it's that fabulous feeling of self-satisfaction, that you and your hands made something which will improve the world in some small way. As a way of committing a random act of kindness on a somewhat global scale, each week I'm going to blog one of my most favourite, well used and adored, baking recipes for you to try. Make a double batch - one for you, one to give to someone else. As the ad says, go on, the world could use a bit more sweetness.

100g butter
1 T golden syrup (in the US, molasses or maple syrup is a nice substitute)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda (AKA bicarbonate of soda)

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the golden syrup. Take off the heat and beat in the sugar and egg using a stirrer or wooden spoon. Add sieved dry ingredients into the pot and stir to mix (it will come away from the sides and be heavy to stir, much like a bread dough.) Arrange small balls of dough onto a line baking sheet, leaving room for spreading. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack. They will 'collapse' upon cooling - this is fine! Store in an airtight container, but only if you manage not to eat them first!


Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Rolling with the punches

Just when you think you have it all figured out...a quiet Wednesday afternoon, next-to-last culinary school assignment nearly done, after school snacks in your handbag, popping into the car to get going to get the kids, 80's music on the radio, meat ready to cook when you bring the trio home, cute new pink hoodie jumper on....you're feeling pretty damn fabulous and proud of yourself. You get to kinder, strolling in, whistling as you go (reallly, I was!) and then...your whole world comes crashing down with a simple conversation:

"Why is DS's eye so red?"

"It wasn't that red 20 minutes ago..."

Thus ensued the world's quickest-but-legal dash to the doc, who said, quick, dash to the chemist to solve this case of conjunctivitis (pink eye for you Americanos out there), stop dashing long enough to whip DD#2 into the house and out again for the toilet break she failed to take 5 minutes earlier when I asked if anyone had to go (Never trust the "NO MAMA" answer...), then dash her back to the car and to the chemist, get the prescription filled, realise its way too late to cook dinner, dash across the road for some quasi Japanese take out (read: sushi hand rolls and honey chicken), dash home to get the dinner down everyone's throats (although vast majority of hand rolls sucked down kids' mouths while in car before we get home), frantically wave at DH as he walks in the door, sit everyone down and feed the hungry horde, whip an eye drop into DS's eye, get everyone into their (brand new and totally cute flannel) PJ's, get teeth srcubbed and wee breaks done, read 3 stories, call DH up to read his part of the 3,447 stories we read every night...and then dash downstairs to print culinary school homework for tomorrow, make lunches, and figure out how DS will cope with me at school all day since kinder doesn't take pink eye kids (as it should be, it's contagious.)


I'm bored.

I think I might find something to do now.

A bit of fun for a Wednesday!!

This video clip made me laugh - and it will for you to, especially if you are a child of the 80's and can remember looking as ridiculous as this guy does. The beauty of it is, at the time we had no idea how foolish we looked. Also I think this comedian is my newest crush - isn't he just cute, in a starving comedian dorky middle aged sort of way? I'm only posting something cute and funny because I'm celebrating my new job today! I start in two weeks...and among other things, I won't need to be up at 3m anymore! Decent hours, decent pay, and uniforms provided - plus free French lessons from the Executive Pastry Chef. Vive la difference!

Sunday, June 4, 2006


We re-filled our fish tank today, because of the 7 goldfish we started with in January, we now only have 2 left, may the other 5 R.I.P. So, respectively, here are the new members of the family:

My fish: Almost entirely white but with bright orange "lips" - it looks like she's wearing the latest shade in smudge proof lipstick. The Estee Lauder of the fish world, this one's name is "Lippy." (Aussie slang for lipstick.)
DH's Fish: A seriously mo-fo-bugly oogly eyed black fish named "Googly Eyes."
DD#1's fish: Standard issue gold fish named "Silver and Gold."
DS's Fish: A very strange, slightly neurotic silvery small fish who darts about like he's having a serious anxiety attack. His name is "Mister Head Bone" ....don't ask me why. Small children are strange beings.
DD#2's fish: Another standard issue goldfish, who went from being called "Purpley" to now being called "Goldy." By next week she'll be renamed again, so watch this space!

All of the above are joined by the two original fish whose names I've forgotten, and 3 very small snails. The 2 bigger snails were observed, ahem, getting it on earlier this afternoon. Strangely it's the first time I considered the concept of snails doing the horizontal tango, or in their case, the squishy dance.

....and who says my life is boring?

I have a name

Since the trio were born, my name seems to have disappeared. People introduce me as 'the triplet mum,', the 'amazing mum of triplets,' 'you know, my friend with the triplets.' It gets old. People, I have a name (which I like) - and I'd be very glad if you could use it! I don't often tell people about my kids - especially in a work or professional environment. My children have nothing to do with how well I can perform my job - it's just another part of my personal life. Don't get me wrong, I am immensely proud of them, and to friends I will brag about them endlessly - but they do not define WHO I am. They are just part of the picture which makes up the person who I am. Most irritating is when people introduce me as 'the triplet mum' in situations when I'd rather they didn't. In classs a few months ago (school is another place where the kids are not really mentioned - again, irrelevant), we had to introduce ourselves to the teacher. So I did my, "Hi, I'm Michelle, I work at XYZ and I like XYZ and blah blah..." - and immediately one of my friends says to the teacher, "Ask her about the kids!!" *sigh* I realise people think that triplets are amazing, and they think *I* am amazing by virtue of raising them, but I wish it wasn't always used as the only point of identification for me. I recently was with DS (Dear Son) on our own when we ran into a friend of his and his Mom. I said, "Hi, I don't think we've met, I'm J's Mom" to which she said, "But aren't you A and C's Mom too?" She thought it was wierd I didn't mention ALL of them. I can assure you my Mom never introduced herself by saying, "Hi, I'm O, Michelle and S's Mom." Parents of kids born more than 30 seconds apart wouldn't do this, so why should I?! This blog is just to say: My name is Michelle. I like my name. Please use it.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Get A Real Job

Most of you know what I do for a living - but how many of you think that my job is not a 'real' job? My Dad, in almost every conversation we have, asks me when I am going to get a 'real job,' to which I reply that I HAVE a 'real job.' His asking me this irritates me enormously, but as I've gotten older I've realised that it's just that his idea of a real job and my idea of a real job differ. A real job, for him (as far as I can tell, I may be wrong) is one which: earns you a decent amount of money, is something you are proud of, is something which makes a difference to the greater good, has potential for growth, and is one which he can tell his friends about with a note of pride. Somehow "my daughter the doctor" sounds better than "my daughter the pastry chef." My Dad also believes (for better or worse), that I am somehow doing myself a disservice by not having a job which (to him) requires more intelligence. There is no arguing that I'm clever - some might say very clever. But does that mean I have to have a job which requires high level thinking all the time? Who says my current job doesn't require it? Am I intelligent enough to be a doctor? Honestly? Yes, I probably am. However the main problem is I have no interest in being one. So if I were to become one, it would qualify as a real job for my Dad, but the fact that I would be miserable doesn't factor into it. If he called me and said, "So how is the doctoring business?" and I said, "Well, Dad, I hate it, am miserable, and cry every day" he would probably say, "Well, everyone has their good and bad days." So what is my opinion of a real job? Well, I hate to say it but I actually do agree with my Dad on most of those points. It's just that while I think my job does actually meet all those, he doesn't. Fact of the matter is, every day my job requires me to think on my feet, work out often complex formulas, exercise both my artistic skill and my technical expertise, and EVERY DAY I make a huge amount of people very, very happy. Do I earn a decent amount of money? In my opinion yes. (No prizes for guessing what my Dad thinks of my salary.) Now while one might argue that my job is not dramatically changing the world (and I'd have to agree), the fact is I change the world by making people happy, and by contributing to society in many other ways. Since I was old enough I've volunteered my time to various social, medical and political organisations - and I still do. DH & I are getting progressively more involved with our temple, helping our local community. I do nice things for friends, neighbours, and strangers on a fairly regular basis. I am raising three children to be polite, socially aware and active human beings - in itself a full time real job. My Dad's job potentially changes people's lives dramatically - he makes people's dreams of becoming US Citizens a reality. My job, and my life, change people's lives in far more constant and subtle ways. I'd venture to say both he and I are doing damn fine work at our respective "real jobs" - now if only we could agree on what a real job is.

Telly Time

In our household we limit the amount of TV our kids watch. We do this for several reasons, all valid (well, we think so). Last weekend I read an article in the 'Good Weekend' magazine about some families in Melbourne who have thrown their televisions out the window entirely (no, not literally.) These families found that getting rid of their televisions was far easier than they thought it would be. Their children were far more self-entertaining than previously thought, able to come up with games or activities to keep them from uttering the usual "I'm booooorreeedddd." Another article from The Age was interesting, about the backlash of parents against television programs for babies. The interesting thing I've found is that the people who find our TV limits strange are often also parents themselves. Several times I've had comments from other parents (of children the same age as the trio) who find our TV policy somehow 'wierd' or 'different.' The fact is, I don't really care what happens in your house. Keep the TV, or several TV's, on in your house all day if you like. Just don't judge me because I choose not to do the same. I don't think television for children is the devil incarnate (see my below favourite things, which include two kids' cartoons). I don't think children will overnight become obese from watching television, and I don't think they all get ideas about suicide and harming others purely from television. We mostly limit it because we think it's important that our kids spend their free time, well, being free and not chained to a couch. Playing outside, colouring in, reading books, helping to cook dinner or set the table...you get the idea. Soon enough they will be in school and their afternoons and evenings will be spent doing homework. Now, while they are still relatively carefree, I want their time spent doing carefree things! I don't think time in front of the TV is wasted time, I just think there are better, more interesting, fun, active things our children can be doing. Childhood, it seems, is getting shorter and shorter as the generations go by .... which is perhaps a post for another day. In the meantime though, I find it heartening to read that we are not the only 'wierd' ones out there whose TV is not the centre of our household.