Monday, May 16, 2011

My Vacation-Inspired Top 5 British Foods

So, I'm off on vacation in just a few short sleeps, and I'm very, very excited. I'm heading to England and Scotland with my boys, for an awesome road trip adventure - and it's going to be great. We're going to visit friends and family, visit some brilliant museums and attractions and create some fabulous memories! But, there's one other thing that Blighty has that has me giddy, and that's food. British food.

For my last post before my trip, here are my Top 5 British foods, that I'm going to gorge on in unhealthy amounts during my trip, and hopefully smuggle back in shocking quantities on my return!

5. Butteries - Yes, the Aberdeen Roll. I'm going to get to a bakery
stat as soon as we reach our Scottish destination, and grab a bag of butteries for breakfast. With plenty of butter and a smothering of jam, I can almost taste the crumbly goodness already. Mmmmm, delish.

4. Cornish Pasties - Oggy, oggy, oggy. Oi, oi, oi. Cornish Pasties aren't just found in Cornwall. I'm excited for me and the boys to lunch on these little gems a few times on this trip. They're cheap, easy and filling, and even have veggies in them to boot. There's loads of different kinds...even chicken tikka...I can't wait. Amazing!

3. Battered Sausage and Chips - Not a dish requiring much explanation.
Pork sausage dipped in batter and fried, served up with a nice greasy helping of chips. It's not healthy, and it's not fine dining, but it's divine, and I haven't had one in years, so it's on the list. (And yes, pass the brown sauce please!)

2. Crisps - My very Canadian son thinks it's hilarious that 'chips' are called crisps in the UK. And fries are called chips. Anyway, whatever they're called, the UK has the edge on flavours. My personal favorites are Prawn Cocktail Skips, Pickled Onion Monster Munch, and Cheesy Wotsits. I also can scarf down a bag of Cheese and Onion walkers like nobody's business, and I'm sure I'll get my hands on a bag or two of Bacon Fries. Needless to say I'm excited about the bags of crisps. I'll plan on bringing a bunch home, but I'll tell you right now, they'll all be gone before we've reached altitude.

1. British Sweets - Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to
be a very good role model to the kid on this vacation. Maybe I'll just buy the sweets on the sly and scoff them all after he's gone to bed. thing I know for sure, is that I'll be stocking up on Double Deckers, Twirls, Revels, Galaxy bars and Minstrels not long after landing at Heathrow. I'm sure the sugar high will help with the jet lag anyway.

So there we have it. My Top 5 foods that I'm excited to get my hands on and teeth into on our vacation. Not very nutritious, I concede. OK, mostly not nutritious at all, but like I said, I've been deprived for a long time, so I'm going wild.

See you all on the flipside of the vacation. Don't forget you can still vote for The Mauve Dinosaur blog every day by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs picture at the top right. It increases my ranking, and then maybe some newbie visitors will stop by! Cheerio for now!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Beauty Pageants and Botox

It's hard for me to watch this video. An 8 year old girl and her mother discuss how the 'harsh demands' of the beauty pageant world have led to them using Botox injections to reduce the girl's wrinkles.

It's a tough watch.

This poor little brainwashed 8 year old says that after her "mom" injects the Botox into her head that she feels "beautiful...pretty...and all those nice words."

This breaks my heart.

It's tough for me to comment on this, without unleashing a world of anger on the woman in that video who calls herself a "mom". It's anger tinged with pity. The mother needs help; therapy, an intervention. She is clearly so deluded and addicted to the pageant life, that she is willing to buy drugs from an underground 'Doctor' and inject them herself into her 8 year old daughter's face.

I hope the mother gets investigated. I hope the Doctor supplying this drug to child beauty pageant participants loses his licence, and more than anything, I hope that against all the odds stacked against her, that the little 8 year old girl manages somehow to grow up into a strong, productive, healthy young woman. She's been objectified, sexualized and violated, by her own family; paraded, judged, and criticized by panels of strangers based on her appearance. How can she possibly emerge unscathed? How can she possibly not grow up with an unhealthy focus on constantly appearing perfect? Will she ever feel naturally good enough? Will she ever feel as though she has an assured place in the world, regardless of what she looks like?

This story isn't cute, it isn't funny, and it isn't 'what all the moms are doing'. It's an example of a heinous act of abuse. An abuse of power and an abuse of trust. This story, this video, is why we HAVE to change how we as a society are treating young girls, how we allow them to be treated and depicted and how we ignore and minimize the consequences. Is it time to stand up yet?

Time for women to STAND UP?

Take a look at this video by Media Watch. What do you think? Time women stood up?

Take a stand against the fashion giants who demean, sexualize, and violate women to sell their products.

Friday, May 6, 2011

International No Diet Day

And this is why I am loving having a blog. Because when I suddenly realize that I almost missed the fact that today, May 6, is International No Diet Day, I can hop on here and shout to the world how awesome I think that is.

I can't really do anything special in honour of No Diet Day, because for me, everyday day is...well, No Diet Day, but in hindsight I will raise my Blueberry Fritter in a toast to supporting the goals of INDD.

There is no "right" body shape (despite what the media will have you believe).

There are so many more important things to be worrying about instead of obsessing over body weight or size.

The 'diet industry' sucks. Commercial diets perpetuate negative stereotypes of women, and weight-loss surgery in many cases is another form of violence against women.

So, International No Diet Day, I tip my hat at you. I say thumbs down to self-loathing and a thumbs up to embracing your body type.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day - Feel the Love

In honour of Mother's Day, I'm going to post a little random thought about the incredible, intense love of motherhood.

Sometimes, when we tell each other that we love one another, my little guy tells me that he loves me more than I love him. I go along with the game of trying to out-do each know, how many times I love him around the world, and to the moon (and back), how many times around the whole universe...infinity and twenty times, that kind of thing. It's fun and we giggle and I get the warm and fuzzies, but the truth is that he will never, ever, ever know how much I love him. I can try and tell him, and I do, but he will never actually truly know.

Maybe one day when he grows up he'll be a dad, and he'll have daddy love, which is also awesome I am sure, or maybe he'll grow up and choose to love a man instead and maybe they'll adopt me a grandbaby, and he'll have another kind of awesome love, but I don't know those kinds of love, so I'll just talk about what I know, inside my heart. The love I have is 'i-gave-birth-to-you-mommy love', and my son will simply never know it. He will never quite understand how it feels to look at someone whose heart starting beating inside you.

I grew him. I feel kind of superhero-esque when I stop to think about it actually.

I get that motherhood isn't just for women who have been pregnant or given birth, I truly do. There are foster mothers, and adoptive mothers, and surrogate mothers - there are lots of different ways to experience the euphoric highs and wretched lows of motherhood, but the growing, the giving birth and the nursing was my very personal, wonderful start, so that's all I know.

I look into my little boy's big, curious eyes everyday, and I wonder what things he will see. I wonder where he will go and what life holds for him. My heart breaks when I realize that I can't protect him from the inevitable pain, disappointment, and failures that are a part of life and I hurt a little bit when I think that one day, the 'Watch this Mommy's will stop and he'll start doing and trying things that he doesn't want me around for. My heart swells when I think that one day he'll do something great - to make himself proud, exceed his own expectations, and maybe even find love, and find his place in the big, bad world that I brought him into.

My mother love for my child is a fierce love; unconditional, pure, unwavering. Raw.

The most intense moment of clarity I've ever had in my life was the moment I saw him.
I knew at that moment that the person who coined the phrase 'Love at first sight' must have been a mother. A mother, like me, whose life and heart changed in an instant.

All mothers are superheroes. We make and raise kids in all our different ways, but we all have a superpower in common. We love our kids like only moms can, and that, is pretty damn special.

Happy Mother's Day ladies.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Other 5 of the Top 10

So, just as I promised here are the next 5 movies, rounding out my Top 10 movies featuring awesome female characters. Like I said in the other post, these ones are more without further ado, here they are in no particular order.

5. Erin Brokovich - The wonderful Julia Roberts plays an unemployed mom of 3 kids who, after losing a personal injury lawsuit, asks her lawyer for a job - and gets one in his office. In her new job, she gets her teeth into a juicy file, and uncovers a systematic cover-up of industrial poisoning in her hometown. She launches a committed investigation to get to the bottom of it and eventually brings the guilty company to justice. Maybe I just actually love the fact that this is a true story - but someone made it a movie and Julia Roberts rocks in it, so it made this list.

4. Silence of the Lambs - In a movie and a genre that revolves around the objectification of women, Jodi Foster plays Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who defies all the usual stereotypes. She's tough, smart, and assured in a role normally reserved for men. She gets the job done, without being rescued or assisted. She objects to the objectification that happens all around her, at the crimes, at work with the FBI, and at the prison. It all just works and I love it.

3. North Country - Charlize Theron is super in this role, based on real-life Lois Jenson who initiated and won a harassment lawsuit against the mine where she worked. Again, maybe I just love the fact that it's a true story, but Charlize and co-star Frances McDormand do an incredible job of re-telling it. After being raped at 16 by a teacher, getting pregnant and having a baby; after leaving an abusive relationship to move in with her emotionally abusive parents, and after enduring cruel and verbal and physical assault at her work at the local mine, Charlize's character has enough. She sues the company and as the fight unfolds, her family and hometown are forced to face the truth about her past. It was a tear-jerker for me, and definitely a front-runner for this list.

2. Thelma and Louise - So while I wouldn't describe these 2 as 'positive role-models', it is just a movie and I concede that the guns, violence and murder all have some place in the story. They aren't the reasons I love this movie though. The reason I love this movie, is that when you look past the violence and the mayhem, it's about female friendship. It's about change, and growth and not being taken advantage of. They're free to make their mistakes, and free to choose their fate. They have guts and passion and a commitment to each other. It's all about them, and I love it. The classy duo of Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis rock, still.

1. The Queen - This might be a surprise one and maybe it's only making the list because of all the recent Royal shenanigans, but I really think it deserves a place. Helen Mirren is amazing as Queen Elizabeth II in this movie that depicts the events following Diana's death in 1997. I partly love it because Helen Mirren is a walking legend, but also because, again, the true story behind the movie is incredible. Unknown to many, the Queen was an army driver and mechanic at age 18. Despite public expectation, she didn't take her husbands surname, and I love that she can clear a room without saying a word. She is a force; a classy, publicly stoic force with complete dedication to what she believes in. I love the real-life version, and the movie version.

And there we have it. That's the list. I'd love to hear what you think, or your suggestions!