And… ACTION.

Australia is on fire.

I don’t mean in the Alicia Keys sense. We are literally burning here, with massive fires, such as one only hours from where we live, which killed 4 people, and others in South Australia where people have also died. To put that into context, we have a good warning system, and people in fire-prone areas are used to preparing for and defending their properties against fire. For people to die… it’s unusual. It’s terrifying and tragic. And it’s only the beginning of summer–the start of the bushfire season. Our summer is predicted to be horrendously hot, coming off the rest of 2015, the hottest year on record.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger sees cousins!

I’ve been busy with family over the past couple of weeks–our Offspring have been on their school holidays (a two-week break) and also, my cousins, whom I’ve not seen for over a decade, came to visit. It was really great to see them, and meet their children (and introduce ours) and now our Offspring are sad because I told them that the cousins live on the other side of the country! Still, it was lovely to see them all getting along, and my cousins are as awesome as they ever were.

Now, on with the links!

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The Right Price.

A friend of mine and I were talking online recently, where he was teasing me about something I’d said, and we were light-heartedly discussing my work in the coal mining industry. Of course, I’ve never worked in the coal mining industry, which my friend knows (hence the joke) and I responded that I was intending to take up a position with Philip Morris instead, the humour being that both of these industries were facing falling profits and had questionable practices when it came to ethics and/or the environment.

I guess you had to be there.

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Where There’s A Will…

Several years ago, probably around the time First Offspring was born, the Handsome Sidekick and I bought a will kit. Inside were two wills, and clear, easy-to-understand instructions on how to fill out the will. This should be a breeze! we thought.

When First Offspring was about nine months old, we moved house. I found the will kit. Should get around to doing that, I thought. We lived in the new house for almost exactly six years. While packing to go, I found the will kit again. By this stage, First Offspring had three siblings. Making a will seemed more important than ever, given we had four young people to consider.

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The Week Links: in which our blogger’s Offspring returns from a sleepover.

First Offspring went for a sleepover last night. I dropped him off in the afternoon and went to get him this morning. He was fine about it, not homesick as far as I can tell, but his siblings were quite lost without him! It was very sweet how they all crowded around when I brought him home, telling him that they missed him. Aww!

Today promised to be sunny but I think it’s going to go back on that. So I’ll go ahead and do some cleaning instead of some gardening (what a terrible trade-off THAT is) while you go ahead and enjoy this week’s links!

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The Week Links: in which our blogger is WELL!

I am well! This is news, because for most of the week, I have not been very well at all. And it occurs to me, on the rare occasion that I’m so unwell that I have to take naps during the day, how much the running of our household depends on my being well! Also, how wonderful it is to be healthy, and how easy it is to take that for granted.

Today, I resolve to not take my good health for granted (I’m sure I’ll be back to ignoring it tomorrow) and celebrate the sunshine. Enjoy the links!

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Enough!

Occasionally when the Handsome Sidekick and I are out walking together during our precious child-free time, we talk about what we would do, should we ever become Very Rich. Perhaps a reason for these kinds of conversations is that we are Not Very Rich, and until I can write my bestseller, that is quite possibly going to be the case for a long time. But talking costs nothing, so we talk.

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An Easter Exploration.

I’m cheating a little, by using ‘Easter’ in my title, so that I can use another ‘E’ word. In fact, this post has nothing to do with Easter, other than it’s on Easter Sunday. So far I’m limiting everyone’s chocolate but they’ve probably already had more this morning than they usually have in a week, and combined with too little sleep, we’re up for an interesting day. By interesting, I mean a few meltdowns and tantrums. I also (somewhat unwisely?) chose this weekend to begin toilet training in earnest with Fourth Offspring. What was I thinking?!

I see many mugs of tea in my future.

Have a contented Sunday, everyone!

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Long-Weekend Links.

It’s a long weekend here in Western Australia (Labour Day), and First Offspring is also celebrating his birthday, which means that we’ll have some of his friends over for birthday tea later today. In the meantime, I’ll be doing some last-minute cleaning, and drinking a lot of tea… we woke up quite early, as you can imagine.

Summer seems to be finally over, thank goodness, and we’ve been having rain interspersed with sunshine, and the plants and animals (human and non-human) are loving it. So with that, I’ll leave you to enjoy your Sunday, and the links!

I realise that some might dismiss the correlation between the increase in natural disasters and climate change over the last several decades, but just hoping that things will improve on their own seems to be a highly ineffectual and naïve response. I would love for developed nations to take more interest in the fact that people are losing lives, homes and livelihoods from these disasters. But given that we always seem to be able to disregard the suffering of those who are different from us, then at the very least, we should care about the economics. Not only is it costly for the global community to support those affected by such disasters, but these weather events will ultimately also lead to a rise in the number of refugees, and then it really will become ‘our problem’. We will need to find ways to integrate many millions more into our countries. Can our societies or our infrastructure stand up to that? Wouldn’t it be better if we could affect change before it came to this?

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Recently I sent an email in which I wrote to the recipient that I’d attached a document. As I went to send it, Google told me that I’d mentioned I was attaching a document in the email body, but I’d not done it. Was I sure I wanted to send the email without the attachment? And I said, thank you Google, I did indeed forget, and it was kind of you to remind me. That’s helpful. But broad sweeping data retention? I don’t believe this is helpful. It’s a difficult balance, to ensure the privacy of the population while making certain that those people who would threaten the wellbeing of the population are unable to do so. According to our own politicians, the only way to ensure that we are safe is to record whom we email, text or speak to and what websites we visit. I’m not convinced. I don’t like the idea of my internet browsing history being held for two years at a time. Can the government guarantee that the data will be safe? Can they guarantee that holding all this data will make us safer? This article demonstrates just how much one can infer from metadata. It feels very Big-Brotheresque.

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When I first became vegetarian, it was mostly for environmental reasons. I’d read Diet for A Small Planet and was generally well into being a hippie, so the whole idea of eating green and shunning meat suited me just fine. But as this article points out, it’s not that simple. It rarely is, is it? For us to actually do something about climate change, we are going to need to change our lifestyle in a much bigger way.

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There is a trend of taking high school students (especially those from very privileged backgrounds) on overseas trips to help out in orphanages in developing countries. But again, like climate change, there is no sweeping one-size-fits-all solution. And there’s evidence that it actually splits families apart, rather than helping them. It’s a shame because I’m sure those who organise and go on these trips are doing it for the right reasons, but in effect, it’s a kind of neo-colonialism which ignores the importance of agency in the fight against poverty and for education.

A Class Act.

Discussions about class and writing come up from time to time, and evidently, now is one of those times. I’ve a passing interest in them, in the same way that I always have a passing interest in people talking about writing for a living, and what does and doesn’t impact upon it.

When it comes to class, though, I struggle a little. Poverty lines are arbitrary and don’t take into account all sorts of ways in which one can be rich or poor, but let’s just say that if we’re basing class on income, then my family and I are definitely not middle class.

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