Talk About Cheesecake

Musings, meanderings and meditation for my mind.


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Why I am watching Buffy

This post could go two ways. I could pontificate on the underlying feminist theme exposed in the recent vampire film fad. Or I could tell you why I am enjoying Buffy the Vampire Slayer right now.

The first way, which seems to be quite a popular running theme all over the internet, is to take the feminist high road. Buffy is a kick arse, strong willed woman who takes no crap from her sometimes good, sometimes evil vampire lover, even so far as to sticking him in the heart when necessary to save the world. She is pretty, funny, savvy and has mood swings. A real woman (in so far as a fictional vampire slaying character can be a real woman).

Oh – and the vampires are evil, dark, ugly – well, proper nasty.

Then there is that other one – Twilight or Breaking Down or whatever it’s called. I saw the first film a few years ago. I haven’t watched the rest. (I intend to – when I have spare time and nothing remotely more interesting to do, just so as I know what I’m slating).

However I have seen a lot of reviews which go on about how the girlie in it is a weak willed little girl who is stalked by her boyfriend, let’s him give her orders and make decisions for her and basically is a role model for all future doormats of domineering men and potential victims of domestic violence. (I really need to watch the films and see what the furore is all about.)

What I didn’t like, though, were a few minor details that I think were wrong – just so wrong. Let’s start with the obvious. Those vampires went to school. In the daylight. I mean – would you? I ask you! Potentially immortal supernatural with super strength and speed, with a penchant for munching on nubile young people. Yet they not only spend all day every day voluntarily doing chemistry and extra maths homework, they don’t get the urge to snack either. It would be like working in a chocolate factory, unpaid, and never taking a single nibble.

Secondly. They glittered. They sparkled. What is that all about? This actually offends me on behalf of all vampires out there.

In fact, it was these issues that leads me on to the second direction for this post.

My niece and my friends daughter are approaching that worrying age – teenagerdoom. With that they are experiencing boys, bitchy girls, bullying, friendships and all the other scary emotional crap that life can chuck at our young people in school these days.

Of course, they are desperate to watch Twilight. It’s the fad. So we caring grownups discussed it on our daily fix the world/resolve the parenting issues/dog walk and decided that they could watch the simpering ninny in Twilight if they watched Buffy as well. Give them a taste of a strong willed woman and balanced point of view.

Which led to me digging out my DVD’s. Because I actually have (I admit it) the entire box set series for Buffy. (A few of the Angel series too – you know, the early ones before it lost the plot.)

So, the reason I am watching all of the Buffy series again. Even now, about 13 years or so after watching the first ones – I love them. Funny, witty, heartbreaking, action packed, romantic – Buffy and the Scooby gang went through all of the issues that face teenagers with humour and provided a lesson each time – whether it be how to respond to bitchiness or why you shouldn’t go to your teacher’s after school in case she is a praying mantis.

Yes, I am watching Buffy because it is entertaining. Somewhere along the line, deeper meanings and political viewpoints aside, I am fairly certain that that was the original aim. To entertain.

Plus she had a pretty cool long red leather coat. I still want one.

Am I alone in this? What programs did you watch years ago that you still love to watch now?


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Project Optimism: Those Hormone Wasps.

Wow – how about those hormones ladies!

Come on, admit it. I am not the only woman in the world to have been beaten down by the nasty hormone wasp. That evil little bug buzzes about, stinging you when you are not expecting it, so surreptitiously that you don’t even know you were infected until you start to come out the other side.

There are various points in our lives when we know hormones will take over, the buzzing will get so loud it will drown out the small voice of rationality in our heads.

Puberty, for example. Yes, that is universally recognised as a time when we will get emotional, dramatic and the world will turn against us. Teenagerdoom!

Pregnancy. Oh boy yes, that one does have a kick. Weepy, hysterical with laughter, angry, delirious . . . that little bundle of fun growing inside you has somehow grabbed hold of the control panel to your tear ducts and your brain and is pressing buttons at random to see what you will do next.

Menopause. While I haven’t personally been through this one myself yet, I do clearly recall coming home for the holidays from uni and after 24 hours telling my usually calm and capable mother that I would go and spend Christmas in my dorm alone if she didn’t go get some HRT. Insane does not describe it!

But what about the other times! You know, ladies, those times to which I refer. I don’t mean the predictable monthly cycle where we know we might get a little grumpy. When we might be slightly less amenable than usual and, dare I say it, even enjoy it a little. When the men about us like to be a little daring and risk a few jokes. ‘Oh, it it that time, darling?’

I mean the times when we just feel mired down, fed up, grumpy and depressed. Life is moving along as normal, nothing has necessarily gone wrong, the world has not blown up. But we just feel like there is a big fat wasp prodding us along. It’s more than PMT.

Over the last few weeks I have been attacked by the wasp. That little bugger has been driving me mad. Paranoia, anger, I had it all. For no reason. Nothing I could explain anyway. And finally, last weekend it went away. Life seemed rosy again.

But it was only after the weight of the world crumbled off my shoulders that I could recognise how down and fed up – how not me – I had been.

I did not like being me over those few weeks. I did not enjoy feeling angry at the world and not know why.

But I am not pregnant, I am not suffering from teenagerdoom and I certainly am not nearing menopause. It’s worse than PMT but there is no name for it. A fair few of my friends seem to be suffering from it right now too. It’s mid thirties, mothering tiredness perhaps. It’s the ‘having children under 10 and needing a little silence’ syndrome. Maybe it’s just New Year blues, after all, we can’t all blame it on the children.

Whatever it is, I just wanted to reassure you ladies. It does go!

And in the meantime, if you want to come and have a rant about it, I’m listening.

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Ok – this may not be overtly optimistic, but I assure you, it is! Look hard, the optimism is in there. 

If you want to be part of Project Optimism, find out more here and here.


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Project Optimism – A Glimmer of Hope

For Project Optimism this lovely Monday morning, I thought I would touch briefly on how there is invariably a glimmer of hope to be found in every situation, whether it be big or small.

I have mentioned before that I do like Mondays but I have to admit I was not looking forward to today. My weekend had had a number of components to it that had just zapped my expectations of a happy day, starting with the normal Saturday morning screeching and wailing that is my 6 year old being told that she has to tidy her room.

‘But WHY?’ she wails.

‘I don’t mind the mess.’ she cries.

He did it!’ she accuses her 3 year old brother (there may be some truth in that, but it’s not the entire story at all).

‘Why won’t anyone help me.’ she demands.

‘It’s not fair.’

Yes – at 6 we have reached that well known childhood phrase. It’s not fair. Teenagerdoom lurks ahead. (no, that is not a spelling mistake!)

We have tried reasoning, arguing, impassioned sobbing (both her and me). I have attached star charts to fridges, offered pocket money as an incentive, threatened to bin everything on the floor.

On Sunday I ‘helped’ tidy her room and in doing so made a pile of yet more broken toys.

‘Why don’t you look after your things?’ I demand.

She shrugs.

And yes, once again I feel like a total failure as a parent because I have tried bribery and everything else known to parents all over and still my child refuses to clean her room and shows no appreciation for the many things she has.

(I don’t think my child is any more spoilt than the average kid in the UK, but perhaps all of our children these days just have too much!)

She doesn’t understand the time it takes to earn the money to buy the frippery in her room that she so casually stands on, snaps, kicks under the bed or uses as a doorstop.

Is 6 too young to learn this?

I don’t think so. I just am not sure how to go about instilling it.

So – I banned use of my iPad, my phone, daddy’s PS, the TV. All screens were off in this house.

Sunday was a day of play. With actual physical toys. (NO, this does not count as child abuse.)

I issued a new decree in the land of Mummy Rules! And it was thus –

You shall earn your gaming time by doing something good every day that shows you value and care for your things. There shall be no screen until your bedroom is tidy every day.

Yep – I didn’t really expect her to listen either. Or Mr G, or myself for that matter. Because let’s face it – throwing them at a screen is an easy babysitter for us too.

On top of this I have been having some down time about family/friends. I mentioned it briefly here. So I went to bed last night feeling quite tired of it all. Flat.

Which is not like me.

This morning I woke up ready to attack the day, starting with the morning screech and shout to get the kids moving, dressed, fed and ready for school. (Good god, I sound like an awful mother. Perhaps I should give up now.)

I went into my daughter’s room to wake her up.

But she was not in bed.

No – she was tidying her room.

*gasp*

Then, whilst I was in the shower, she dressed herself, brushed her teeth and attempted to brush her hair.

Whilst I was dressing Mini Monster 2, she went and voluntarily  washed her face. Voluntarily!

We ate breakfast, early.

And then Mini Monster 1 turned to me and said ‘Did I do something good now mummy?’

“Yes darling, very good this morning.” I smiled.

“And did you notice I tidied up Mini Monster 2’s toy box too.” she questioned.

“Yes honey,” I lied. Mental note, must go check the box.

“And have I earned some time on the iPad now mummy?”

Yes – it is bribery. Yes – it is materialistic. Yes – it is a computer game.

But I have found a carrot and stick that works and I’m keeping it.

So – the point to this is that just when you think it is time to give up, to stop trying, a glimmer of hope will appear! Just a calm start to the day can make all the difference.

Now – you might think that that is all there is to say.

But no – I have yet to tell you where the optimism comes in.

And this is it – despite all evidence to the contrary, despite knowing that my child has the attention span of a gnat . . .

I am optimistic that this particular carrot will last for at least two whole days before that room is a tip again.

This is all about optimism as part of Project Optimism. Find out more here.