Zero Response!

Today’s Prompt. When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?

In both physical and verbal confrontations, my answer is: neither.

Jacques mentioned a while back that I really should get either pepper spray or a stun gun to carry with myself at all times. That would be the worst idea ever. When someone suddenly jumps out at me (as Luke LOVES to do) I freeze. Literally. My heart skips a couple of beats, my breathing stops, words run dry. There is just no way that I will ever be able to defend myself with any kind of weapon whatsoever. I freeze so bad, I can’t even scream! I would much rather roll over and play dead than to risk being attacked with my own weapon.

Unfortunately the same goes for verbal confrontations and I avoid them like the plague. As I have mentioned before, I am not good at this talking thing. I need time to prepare my argument. When suddenly confronted with an argument I say the dumbest things and, basically (I hate this word) I turn into a sheep. Baaaa! Give me time to prepare, however, I will most definitely give you a run for your money!

I think the fight-or-flight-handing-out-ceremony-memo never reached me and I am left in limbo.

On being hugged by a black guy

South Africa, the country of my birth. The only country, in fact, I have ever known. I have always been proudly South African; I love this place, truly, deeply and passionately. Sure it has it’s problems, but then again, as does all countries, hey?

Our land is filled with a multitude of races, religions, cultures and languages. We don’t have only “Africans” and “Caucasians”. We have Blacks, Whites and Colored natives. We also have Indians, Asians, and many more – we embrace them all. It is the multitude of languages (we have 11 National Languages), however that reduced me to tears this afternoon. Language and shame left me standing there at the side of the road next to a taxi with a young black chap embracing me.

Let me start at the beginning.

When I got to the taxi rank this afternoon, this young black guy, about 25 years old, was obviously upset and very animated in the way he expressed himself. This young man was the guard of one of the taxis. In case you don’t know, the taxis operate with a driver and a guard. The guard’s job is to collect fares and direct the driver to where he needs to stop. None of the taxis were prepared to drive out to the Bay for 4 passengers, as it already was too late. What upset him was the fact that they (the driver and him) were prepared to go, but they had to wait their turn. I was listening to him venting his frustration, in Afrikaans, at the rank master. After about 10 minutes of this (in which time 4 taxis had been loaded and left) the rank master caved and allowed them to jump the queue.

We loaded the taxi with a mix of passengers for different areas, the Bay being the last stop. En route I continually caught myself listening to the way he spoke Afrikaans. His pronunciation of words and grammar was exquisite, to say the least. He had this beautiful way to make the words roll of this tongue. I decided to compliment him on it when I got off. As the ride continued, he kept talking, and it got me thinking about the many languages of our country. I felt ashamed. How “proudly South African” am I if I can’t speak any of the other languages, other than my mother tongue (Afrikaans) or English? I have never attempted even to learn and traditionally African language. Does that not make me a hypocrite then?

My stop was the last on their route. I got out and this is how the conversation went (only it was in Afrikaans):

Me: Excuse me, I know you are in a hurry, but there is something I want to say to you.
Young Guard: Yes Ma’am?
M: I have always said that I am a proud South African, but today you made me hang my head in shame.
Confusion and shock washed over his face. I started to speak and could feel the emotion well up in my throat (I am very connected to emotion and it does not take much to drive me to tears)
YG: I don’t understand Ma’am
M: You speak Afrikaans with such love, so clearly, yet it is not your mother tongue. (At this point the tears started rolling). I claim to be proudly South African, yet I have never even tried to learn your language.

That is how language reduced me to tears, it left me standing at the side of the road next to a taxi. The next moment this you guy embraced me, softly patting me on the back. His parting words to me:

“Don’t worry Ma’am. I appreciate your kind words. We have a long way to go in this country yet. You will learn my language, of that I have no doubt. The fact that you can not speak my mother’s tongue does not make you any less my sister.”

South Africa, motherland, I love you and all God’s people.

Goodnight everyone.

A common thread – flash fiction

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the another, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

Not sure about this one.  I had to think and rethink.  It was quite challenging, as I kept linking the three stories together in some way.  Hopefully I got it right this time around!

000 WordWeb3

Image borrowed from http://www.freewebs.com

Part 1

Guests gathered at the tables and took a minute to take in the opulence of the venue.  Thick velvet drapes framed the pictures on the back wall, behind the bride’s table.  The sides of the canopy lifted to reveal flowing vineyards to the left and valleys of the Spanish countryside to the right.  It was a proud day for both families.  Their children have been life-long friends and today they are married.  The love is felt by all.  Wine will flow tonight; there is a celebration to be had.

Part 2

Clive sat down on the bed and looked around.  He couldn’t believe he had to go through with this.  Getting married at the age of 20 was not what he had in mind.  How did he let this happen?  Today he is getting married and in two months he will be a father.  Their families consider it the “honorable thing to do”.  Suzie was overjoyed by the all, but no-one seemed to care about his thoughts on the situation.  He cracks open a beer, trying to numb his mind before taking to the altar.

Part 3

They walked out the door, looked at each other and started to laugh.  For the foreseeable future they would be sharing a dorm room at the college.  No-one could separate them now.  Their parents were dead set against their relationship; wait till they heard that the magistrate just signed their Marriage certificate!

 

The GMO Test – how much does it effect me?

pandoras-box

Image obtained from http://www.empowernetwork.com/someshdeswardt/blog/say-no-to-monsanto/

I have in the recent days wished that I never discovered GMO’s.  For years I lived unawares, as so many other consumers does.  Since I have became aware of GMO’s, however, it has been like the opening of Pandora’s box.  The realization that GMO’s are part of our lives every single day is a stark one.  It is quite literally in (nearly) everything we eat or drink.  We are effectively poisoning ourselves bite-by-bite and sip-by-sip.  I compare it to taking 1 ml of Arsenic per day for the rest of your life, sooner or later you will die a horrible death.  It may seem a bit drastic, but read on.

What are GMO’s?

Genetically Modified Organisms are organisms whose genetic material have been altered using genetic engineering techniques.  The main culprits are soy products, cotton, wheat and dairy products.  Read more here.

How did this journey start for me?

In recent months we have been hit with more and more reports of contaminated meat in South Africa: Goat and Water Buffalo being mixed with who knows what else and sold as beef, etc.  One day we bought mince at a butcher, which was on special.  After preparing it, following my normal recipe, I told Jacques that it just does not taste “normal”.  Within days the scandal hit newspapers and, to this day, I shudder to think what we actually ate that evening.  I made the decision to move to a vegetarian diet and turned to vegetables and soy products.  A friend told me to steer clear of the soy products and especially soy mince, as it was modified.  This made no sense to me and I started digging.  This the point where I realized that contaminated meat is the least of our worries.

The amount of information on GMO’s, both good and bad, is vast, and you are left to make up your own mind about it.  As you will no doubt pick up from this post, is that I have made up my mind about that GMO’s are the poison that is killing our world.

As can be expected, the “good points” about GMO’s are all distributed by companies who either produce them or benefit from them in some way or form.  These points are then backed up by very vague scientific results.  On this point, did you know that Food Technologists who work for these big companies have to sign secrecy and non-disclosure agreements.  Makes you think: what are they hiding if it is supposedly good for you?  This picture (taken in my beloved South Africa!) going around on Facebook also speaks a thousand words:

monsantoland

The bad points are much easier to come by and listed by companies, individuals and scientists – some of these are even food technologists who used to work for large corporations (read Monsanto).  Their facts are backed up with test results galore.  One argument which makes it clear to me is the following:

We all have to eat and drink, right?  Think back to when you were a child – you hardly ever heard of someone who had cancer.  Today cancer is as common place as the flu.  Why is that?

Bearing this in mind, go back and look at the statistics and scientific results freely available on the internet.

Moving ahead – GMO Free

no gmo

Image obtained from http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/04/12/how-to-join-the-no-to-gmos-movement/

The search for GMO Free products in SA is unfortunately not as easy as expected.  Labeling in SA is not yet compulsory and very few companies choose to label their products.  At most, you will find a very small “may contain traces of genetically modified organisms” or even worse “genetically enhanced for your benefit”.  The process have thus been arduous one, but I have come up with a (small) list of safe items.  One thing that I am still unclear on is instant coffee.  Any suggestions would be appreciated in this regard.

I came SevenPointFive who offers Live Blood and pH Analysis and had an idea.  What is the number one thing attacked by GMO’s?  Your red blood cells.  From there, the poison spreads to the rest of your body with deadly effects.  My idea:  Do the full analysis, then cut out GMO’s from my diet and redo the test in 30 days and again in 6 months.  Lauren at SevenPointFive is very excited about this and have offered to assist me with the process.  My appointment is for tomorrow afternoon and I can’t wait to start this process.  Here is what I will not be doing:

  • I will not be changing my vegetarian diet in any way other than to cut out anything which might contain GMO’s.
  • I will not stop smoking for the duration of the test (at least).
  • I will not change my exercise routine for the duration of the test.
  • I will not be adding any medication or supplements to my diet.

The result will be an interesting one and I will keep you posted.

Quick Tip: Three Steps for Perfect Proofing

The Daily Post

There’s a tedious but necessary final step before hitting “publish”: proofreading. If you’re anything like me, proofreading is the antithesis of writing, cruelly shunting you from an intuitive, creative flow to the much-less-fulfilling world of misplaced commas and accidental their/there/they’re confusion.

Still, it’s gotta be done; an error dulls the shine from the most sparkling prose, and even personal, stream-of-consciousness posts benefit from good copyediting. Try these three steps to become your own best editor:

View original post 389 more words

Top 20 Happiness Quotes

So glad to be a Happster! Here are some thoughts on happiness to take you through this day!

Best Happiness Quotes

Hi Happsters,

I hope you’re having an awesome day! I decided to pull together my favorite happiness quotes for this post. It was hard to choose just 20! Enjoy 🙂

1. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

2. “Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

3. “Three things in human life are important:  The first is to be kind.  The second is to be kind.  And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

4. “Success is not the key to happiness; happiness is the key to success.”  – Albert Zweiter

5. “Happiness is the secret to all beauty. There is no beauty without happiness.” – Christian Dior

6. “If you aren’t happy…

View original post 306 more words

Freedom of Facebook

Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content its users post, or should users have complete freedom? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

keyboardfreedom

Today’s prompt is an interesting one, which will evoke a lot of different opinions.  This certainly is a prompt where I cannot wait to see the responses!

Freedom of speech – that little piece of legislation that gives normal citizens the freedom to say what they want, when they want.  There are two problems with this.

First off, it is an unfortunate fact that some people do not know where to draw the line, and live by this rule:

impress vs bs

A very good example of this was seen last week on the Facebook page created in honor of the late Lee Rigby.  Some of the responses were heartfelt and sincere, but some of them however were just shocking.  At some point I wanted to ask these Neanderthals whether they realized that the page was not created to entice revenge, but to pay respect to a fallen hero.

Secondly, we live in a society where gossip rules.  Some people seem to live for the next bit of saucy detail, regardless of whether it is true or not.  People would much rather believe something bad about someone than to go to the effort to find out the truth.  It’s a fact.  I’m sure it is not necessary, but if you feel the urge to check whether this statement is justified, simply Google Celebrity Gossip.  I’m sure you’ll get the point.

These issues then poses the problem whether internet speech should be censored.

We all have heard of people whose relationships turned to dust or had their reputation shattered because of what was said by an ignorant fool.  Facebook has become a powerful tool for marketing and activism.  When you come across a new product or service (or even, in some cases, when you meet someone) what is the first thing you do?  We turn to Bing or Google, look at the majority of reports and form an initial opinion based on what we find.  This is where I have a bit of a moral dilemma.

Scenario 1 – Freedom of speech is practiced in every sense of the word:

Freedom is allowed across all platforms and any negative claims made, will have to be backed up with evidence to the contrary.  This would mean employing someone full time to keep abreast of what is being said about your company.  For a company like Monsanto for instance, this has proven a difficult task (especially in the past week) as they have had to deal with an influx of rants from visitors 🙂   I am pretty sure they would rather have had the option to just delete those comments before they can be seen.

However, what happens when a company is maliciously attacked with claims which holds no ground?  They will then be stuck with a huge PR dilemma.

Scenario 2 – Freedom of speech is moderated:

Now, this is pretty much the basis that WordPress works on, and for me, it is a system that works really well!  Any comments by new visitors are placed on “Pending” until such time as it can be “Approved” by the owner of the site.  Once a visitor have been approved, all future communication will appear automatically.   This can however also be detrimental in the sense that the owner then have the choice as to what content he / she wants displayed.  It is a very simple choice to delete a comment which goes against your liking.  I guess it’s a matter of the moral compass of the person in charge.  If you can’t take the heat (criticism) stay out of the kitchen!

I quite like the way things are being done on WordPress and will stick with that for now.

Just remember:

freedomofspeech

 

 

10 Monsanto Killers to eliminate from your diet

I found this article by Elizabeth Renter via Collective Evolution

Genetically modified foods have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals, and the environmental, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered.

It’s important to note that steering clear from these foods completely may be difficult, and you should merely try finding other sources than your big chain grocer.  If produce is certified USDA-organic, it’s non-GMO (or supposed to be!). Also, seek out local farmers and booths at farmer’s markets where you can be ensured the crops aren’t GMO. Even better, if you are so inclined: Start organic gardening and grow them yourself.

Until then, here are the top 10 worst GMO foods for your “do not eat” GMO foods list.

Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List

1. Corn: This is a no-brainer. If you’ve watched any food documentary, you know corn is highly modified. “As many as half of all U.S. farms growing corn for Monsanto are using genetically modified corn,” and much of it is intended for human consumption. Monsanto’s GMO corn has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.

2. Soy: Found in tofu, vegetarian products, soybean oil, soy flour, and numerous other products, soy is also modified to resist herbicides. As of now, biotech giant Monsanto still has a tight grasp on the soybean market, with approximately 90 percent of soy being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate was sprayed on soybeans alone

3. Sugar: According to NaturalNews, genetically-modified sugar beets were introduced to the U.S. market in 2009. Like others, they’ve been modified by Monsanto to resist herbicides. Monsanto has even had USDA and court-related issues with the planting of it’s sugarbeets, being ordered to remove seeds from the soil due to illegal approval.

4. Aspartame: Aspartame is a toxic additive used in numerous food products, and should be avoided for numerous reasons, including the fact that it is created with genetically modified bacteria.

5. Papayas: This one may come as a surprise to all of you tropical-fruit lovers. GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Though they can’t be sold to countries in the European Union, they are welcome with open arms in the U.S. and Canada.

6. Canola: One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet, canola oil is obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical actions.

7. Cotton: Found in cotton oil, cotton originating in India and China in particular has serious risks.

8. Dairy: Your dairy products contain growth hormones, with as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. In fact, Monasnto’s health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. If you must drink milk, buy organic.

9. and 10. Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Closely related, these two squash varieties are modified to resist viruses.

The dangers of some of these foods are well-known. The Bt toxin being used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies. But perhaps more frightening are the risks that are still unknown.

With little regulation and safety tests performed by the companies doing the genetic modifications themselves, we have no way of knowing for certain what risks these lab-created foods pose to us outside of what we already know.

The best advice: steer clear of them altogether.

Additional Sources:
NaturalNews

Sources:
Natural Society
Picture

10 Monsanto Killers to eliminate from your diet

I found this article by Elizabeth Renter via Collective Evolution

Genetically modified foods have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals, and the environmental, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered.

It’s important to note that steering clear from these foods completely may be difficult, and you should merely try finding other sources than your big chain grocer.  If produce is certified USDA-organic, it’s non-GMO (or supposed to be!). Also, seek out local farmers and booths at farmer’s markets where you can be ensured the crops aren’t GMO. Even better, if you are so inclined: Start organic gardening and grow them yourself.

Until then, here are the top 10 worst GMO foods for your “do not eat” GMO foods list.

Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List

1. Corn: This is a no-brainer. If you’ve watched any food documentary, you know corn is highly modified. “As many as half of all U.S. farms growing corn for Monsanto are using genetically modified corn,” and much of it is intended for human consumption. Monsanto’s GMO corn has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.

2. Soy: Found in tofu, vegetarian products, soybean oil, soy flour, and numerous other products, soy is also modified to resist herbicides. As of now, biotech giant Monsanto still has a tight grasp on the soybean market, with approximately 90 percent of soy being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate was sprayed on soybeans alone

3. Sugar: According to NaturalNews, genetically-modified sugar beets were introduced to the U.S. market in 2009. Like others, they’ve been modified by Monsanto to resist herbicides. Monsanto has even had USDA and court-related issues with the planting of it’s sugarbeets, being ordered to remove seeds from the soil due to illegal approval.

4. Aspartame: Aspartame is a toxic additive used in numerous food products, and should be avoided for numerous reasons, including the fact that it is created with genetically modified bacteria.

5. Papayas: This one may come as a surprise to all of you tropical-fruit lovers. GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Though they can’t be sold to countries in the European Union, they are welcome with open arms in the U.S. and Canada.

6. Canola: One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet, canola oil is obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical actions.

7. Cotton: Found in cotton oil, cotton originating in India and China in particular has serious risks.

8. Dairy: Your dairy products contain growth hormones, with as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. In fact, Monasnto’s health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. If you must drink milk, buy organic.

9. and 10. Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Closely related, these two squash varieties are modified to resist viruses.

The dangers of some of these foods are well-known. The Bt toxin being used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies. But perhaps more frightening are the risks that are still unknown.

With little regulation and safety tests performed by the companies doing the genetic modifications themselves, we have no way of knowing for certain what risks these lab-created foods pose to us outside of what we already know.

The best advice: steer clear of them altogether.

Additional Sources:
NaturalNews

Sources:
Natural Society
Picture

“Nanuschka” is not my real name

Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

Hello world, my name is Elna!  Nanuschka, Nuschka, Natie and Nanyn are names which were used by my family when I was but a tiny lass.  Nanuschka is the one that stuck with me and my mom still uses it from time to time.

E-lna, El-na, El-naaa, Eln-aaaa – more about that later!

I am so glad my parents used their full mental capacity when naming me.  Long standing tradition is to name the first girl after her grandmother on her mother’s side.  I am so glad they decided against Elsie Jacomina – I would definitely have wanted to change it!  So, thanks mom, thanks dad, you saved me a lifetime of struggles.

Google “Elna” and you find countless results of, you guessed it, sewing machines!  No important world changing historians, no famous towns or places.  Just sewing machines.  I choose to look on the bright side.  Luke at this picture:

elna

 

Do you see all the buttons and knobs?  This little machine is as multi-faceted as I am.  I have layers!

I have two very funny name moments, which I will share with you:

Walking in Tygervalley Centre one day, Luke saw the Elna Shop.  He turned to me very excited “Mommy, we found your job” and he insisted to go in.  He looked at every single machine and was just blown away by the fact that they each bore my name.  After a while it dawned on him: “Mommy,  you should sue these guys.  They are using your name without paying you!”  If only I could get the royalties….

For the second one I am going to share something with you that only 1 or 2 people know about.  When you read this, don’t judge me, I am only human!

When we were trying to conceive Luke, a herbalist told me to smoke the green stuff once a week.  True as bob, 8 weeks later I was 6 weeks pregnant.  One day while “under the influence” I started to ponder about me name.  I don’t know how long it lasted, but for a good while I just sat there sounding out my name – out loud.

E-lna, El-na, El-naaa, Eln-aaaa.

It sounded so very foreign and exotic, rolling of my tongue.  It may not sound that funny to you, but it still gives me the giggles to this day.  In fact, when I read the prompt that was the first thing that came to mind.

Would I change it, naaaah, I’ll hang on to it.  Some people took a long time to come up with the name when I came to be and it would be an insult to their time and love.