Sunday, April 24, 2005

Boys and girls

“I really wanted a boy/girl”

“Girls are just awful as teenagers”

“Potty training a boy is incredibly hard”

OK. The boyness of a boy, or the girlness of a girl is a very small part of what is interesting about them. In fact, it is an absolutely zero part to begin with (slightly different nappy changing techniques required. Period).

Don’t go into an interaction with someone with a bunch of expectations based on some arbitrary categorisation, like sex. Such expectations have a way of being self-fulfilling. Expectations – even apparently positive ones - put limits on what a child feels free to explore and learn.

Wishing for a child of the opposite sex because one or both parents imagines that they would feel a greater kinship with them and share more interests is a rejection of both children’s individuality – the hypothetical child as well as the real one. Maybe the parent needs to think more creatively about finding ways of every one exploring their interests, and valuing what each other does rather than looking for a mini-me through whom they can fulfil all of their own unmet childhood desires

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Cooking is not as hard as some people think.

Here is an example:

1. Chop an onion into centimetre-ish pieces. Chop a single clove of garlic as small as you can be bothered.

2. Heat up a big pan and put in some oil. Gently fry onion and add garlic after 4 minutes. When the onion starts to go translucent, put in 1 cup red lentils and stir well for a minute or two (so the oil goes all over).

3. Add a pint or so of stock. Domestic goddesses will of course have made this from a chicken roast leftovers the night before. Mere mortals can use a stock cube and boiling water.

4. Add a 14 oz tin of chopped tomatoes and a couple of teaspoons of tomato puree. Add at least a table spoon of fresh thyme leaves if you have a thyme bush. Otherwise, add half a tablespoon of dried thyme leaves.

5. Bring to the boil and turn the heat right down. Simmer with lid on for 15-20 minutes.

6. Add some lemon juice (I did about 1/4 lemon) and salt and pepper to taste.


All done in less than 1/2 hour. If you make enough, you can put some in the freezer for a week or so when you've forgotten how nice it was last time and fancy an easy lunch.

Why doesn't everyone do this? It's so much nicer than shop soup, even though there are no fresh ingredients except the onion.

Book meme

From Gil.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
I don’t want to be a book at all. I am a person.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
No. It would never go anywhere.

The last book you bought is:

The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, for an on line book study group I’m in.

The last book you read:

Summer Camp at Trebizon, by Anne Digby. I never owned this when I went through my Trebizon craze aged about 10, and I found it in a charity shop recently. Amazing how happy all the characters seem to be to be at boarding school.

What are you currently reading?

'Perishable Goods' by Dornford Yates – I haven’t read it for a while

'The self-respecting child' by Alison Stallibrass – wonderful account of how children learn through play when they are just left to GET ON WITH IT. And I’m learning about Piaget, a bit, which is cool because he seems to be cropping up everywhere.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

Extreme Survival Almanac: Everything You Need to Know to Live Through a Shipwreck, Plane Crash, or Any Outdoor Crisis Imaginable by Reid Kincaid. Gil’s suggestion.

The Liber Usualis. I could use the singing practice. I could even live like a nun and celebrate the divine office, pretty much, if equipped with the LU. That’d take my mind off being shipwrecked. And it would take my mind off the ridiculous 5-book limitation.

LoTR. I usually re-read this in Lent, and I missed it this year because of reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time (again). It’s only because I don’t think the Wheel of Time would count as one book that I’m leaving it off the list.

Something by Popper. Enough secondary literature already.

Playful parenting. Risky one this, but it’s been recommended by a friend and I haven’t got it yet.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons)? And Why?
If I was the stick-passing type, it would be Dawn and Dan. They don’t post often enough. And I know that's only two.