Strange as it may seem to all chocolate lovers out there…..not everyone loves chocolate! Let me reassure you, I’m definitely a chocolate lover.
This post was originally published on 20/3/2011 and updated on 14.08.2023
Here are five fun facts about this beautiful confection.
Chocolate and Mood: Chocolate contains compounds such as phenylethylamine and anandamide, which are associated with feelings of pleasure and happiness. This could partly explain why many people consider chocolate a comfort food.
Health Benefits: Dark chocolate, in moderation, has been associated with potential health benefits due to its antioxidant content. It may have positive effects on heart health and even cognitive function. I’ll take that!
Chocolate Sculptures: Skilled chocolatiers create intricate sculptures entirely from chocolate. These sculptures can range from detailed replicas of famous landmarks to life-sized statues.
Chocolate Spa Treatments: Some luxury spas offer chocolate-themed treatments, such as chocolate body wraps, facials, and even chocolate-infused baths, claiming to rejuvenate the skin and provide relaxation.
But the one I like the most …
is that chocolate syrup was used in that famous shower scene in the epic Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho” and what was it used for? The blood.
Somehow, that scene is never going to be quite the same – I get the picture of Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins saying to Hitchcock, “Can we just try that scene again ….. the prop has been eaten!”
I’ll leave you with this quote from the beautiful Katherine Hepburn “What you see before you, my friend is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” – I’m with her!!!
As we journey through life, we meet people who impact our lives. They may stay for five minutes, five years or a lifetime. But while they are within our circle, we learn from them, which is all part of our growth.
Well, that’s the way I see it. Many people have come into my life over the last 70 years. Some stayed only a short moment but left an indelible mark, and each time, be it good or bad, I learned and grew.
But the one who had the most impact was my father (as is often the case). And right up to the day he died, just before his 96th birthday, he was teaching me.
Looking back over the many things he taught me, two stand out.
“Never judge anyone” was probably the main one I grew up with. Everyone is on their own path and has reasons for doing what they do. Sometimes they may not even know the ‘why’, but until you walk in their shoes (which you never can), don’t assume you know and don’t judge their actions or words. There are always two sides to everything (perhaps that was the lawyer in him talking), but he was correct; there is always another side or way of looking at something.
The other advice he would give (often) was to be open to new ideas and constructive criticism and not be frightened or ashamed to change your mind if new evidence shows a better way, a different outcome or a new approach.
A great example of this was in 2007, during the last days of his beautiful life.
He had checked himself into a rest home, and all his grandchildren, most scattered around the world, emailed him constantly. He would receive anywhere from two to six emails daily, and even the office lady would come in on Saturday and Sunday to print them off so dad wouldn’t miss a day.
My daughter, living in the USA, asked me one day what she should write about as she felt she was out of things to put in the emails. I suggested she write about the politics and what was happening in the States (remember Bush and Iraq?). I told her grandpa would be interested to hear her view.
A few days later, I went to visit him. He was waking up, and as he did, he indicated some papers on the bed tray he wanted me to read. Immediately I saw it was from my daughter and began to read.
Now, my father was a supporter of Bush. He believed in the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and the Iraq invasion.
So, I think you can imagine my surprise when I read that my daughter was arguing for the impeachment of Bush, saying that what he’d done was illegal.
The more I read, the more I wondered about my father’s reaction. I put down the email and looked at him. By now he was sitting up, his eyes were bright, and he had a gentle smile on his face. I will never forget the words he spoke.
“She’s right,” he said. “What Bush did was illegal, and I hadn’t seen it that way.” “Your daughter has convinced me by outlining the facts. She has made a good case.”
He went on to say that he doubted Bush would be impeached, but what a legal battle that would be. But at that moment, I saw a man at the end of his life have the courage to change his mind, and that was an incredibly powerful lesson.
I hope to maintain the morals and attitudes my father taught me. They’ve certainly held me in good stead up to now. Long may his words and actions remain in me.
After reading about Facebook handing over chat files, I have concluded that there is no privacy anymore.
Let me fill you in on the details so you also can shout out, WTF?
Oh, and before we begin, this is NOT about whether abortion laws are right or wrong.
Nebraska’s abortion law currently (as of 14th July 2022) prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization).
This story is about an investigation launched in April 2022, even BEFORE the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It is centred around a mother and her then 17-year-old daughter who became pregnant. The mother acquired abortion pills which the daughter took. A friend (truly? Friend?) dobbed the girl to the police after she saw her take the first pill.
As she was around 23 weeks pregnant, she was accused of breaking the law. But it’s not the law that is being discussed here.
Wait for it…….
As part of the investigation into the supposedly illegal abortion, Nebraska police served a warrant on Facebook.
The warrant covered the phones and laptops and the Facebook accounts of both. On top of these, Facebook also handed over private chat messages between the mother and her daughter (a minor at the time).
This is not good. Activists have warned that this will become more prevalent as abortion laws become more draconian and authorities pursue abortion cases.
There is also the threat that law enforcement will get trackers of all who become pregnant within their region. However, it’s more likely that they’ll wait until they get a tip and then use their subpoena power to get digital evidence of ‘criminal intent.
Facebook certainly could put privacy coding in place to boost the user’s privacy. At the moment, they do offer encryption on the messenger app. You can check if the” End-to-end encrypted chats” function is enabled. But if you really want to have secret messages with someone, you’ll have to open a ‘secret chat manually’.
Of course, you can always use the Vanish Mode, which means the message vanishes altogether!
We do need to remember that privacy has always been an issue. Even in the days of hand-written letters, they can come to light and be used against the writer, as we’ve seen a few times with Royals and celebs.
As my father used to say, “only write what you wouldn’t mind someone other than the recipient reading.”
My son-in-law sent through a photo of a bear raiding their rubbish bin one night, and it got me thinking.
The first thought when I saw the images was that, thankfully, everyone (including the cat and dog) was inside. Then I started to think about why the bear raided the rubbish bin in the first place. It was frequenting the neighbours’ bins as well.
It’s not the first time my daughter’s family has had visits from bears, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. They live in a forest area in Northern California, so it stands to reason they live with wildlife around them.
Thankfully, only the recycling was tipped as they are very careful about what rubbish they put out.
In the grand scheme of things, humans have multiplied exceptionally quickly, and in doing so, we’ve encroached into the wildlife’s home.
We are diminishing their world by destroying forests and laying waste of the land with chemical fertilizers that have excessively polluted the environment.
We’re the only species (to my knowledge) that don’t regulate the number of offspring we produce. In the wild kingdom, the animals reduce their numbers when food is scarce. When food is plentiful, the numbers increase.
There is also a balance in nature when animals, insects and plants, are allowed their freedom to live as they should.
Humans, on the other hand, do not follow nature’s laws.
It doesn’t seem to matter to us that food is scarce. We keep breeding. We also don’t have predators to control our population, and we live a lot longer than we should because of modern medicine, so there are more of us. It doesn’t help the balance.
We are encouraged to have children. Don’t get me wrong, having children is beautiful, and I’m not suggesting we stop altogether. What we need to do is reduce the numbers. Of course, governments don’t want this simply because of capitalism. But what is it doing to our environment?
It’s bad enough that animals must try to adapt to urban sprawl encroaching. But they also have to live with fires and floods destroying their homes, all due to climate change we have exacerbated.
We have to live in harmony with nature. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I’m heartened when I see countries helping to re-establish ecosystems, such as shown recently by India. They are about tointroduce Namibian cheetahs into their wildlife reserves as the Indian cheetahs went extinct 70 years ago. It is hoped that these big cats will help to balance the ecosystem. Of course, humans and their cattle will have to be kept out of the area.
Now, just think about what we could achieve with nature if we didn’t have such a massive reliance on animal agriculture.
Finally, international travel has kicked in, and I’m able to leave N.Z. to go and visit my daughter.
The first step was flying from Tauranga to Auckland. Over the past couple of years, I have seen planes flying over my home, and every time it goes through my mind, that’s where I want to be – on that plane, either coming or going.
I have a love of airports. They signify off on another adventure, or yay, I’m coming home. Both are just as important. The adrenaline and the build-up of excitement are half the fun. Then boarding and strapping in and knowing that I’m on my way always gives me a sigh of relief that I made it.
The pre-takeoff this time was more than just getting excited. I also had to be very aware of where I went, of masking up and not going anywhere there were crowds of people I didn’t know. The last thing I wanted to get was the Vid.
My preparations were rewarded. I was clear to travel. The Australian (sorry, I meant to say I was headed to Aussie) DPD (Digital Passenger Declaration) was a lengthy process. Downloading the app was a breeze, but then filling it all in was not the easiest, and I’d hate to think how elderly folk would get on, especially ones who don’t like using their phones.
Asking for specific vaccine dates meant rushing off to my purse and thankfully finding the wee card I’d been given showing the dates I got injected. The International vaccine passport shows only the third one. So that was one heart-stopping moment for me.
Next, scanning my passport – yes, that worked. But then I also had to take a selfie, and quite frankly, that was not easy. You see, I had to remove my glasses which meant I couldn’t read the instructions as I tried to line up my face to the camera. It took more than a few tries, but finally, the green light appeared, and it was done. On reflection, I could have at least combed my hair!!!
Thankfully I’m familiar with the Air N.Z. app, so that side was easy to navigate, and it seemed I was ready to fly.
My three a.m.er friend Kathy (you’ve met her before HERE) picked me up, and we had plenty of time to check me in, get a coffee and chat together before she needed to go.
Checking in at Tauranga, it was a blessing that I was checked all the way through to Sydney. Why? You ask. Because I only had one cabin bag, which could only be up to 7Kg. Of course, my ‘handbag’ was oversized and stuffed full of all the heavy things. Realizing I didn’t have to contend with bag weight in Auckland, as soon as I got to the table and while Kathy got the coffee, I transferred most of that heavy stuff into the cabin bag.
Oh, the things we do!
Then we were off.
Once in Auckland, it was time to head over to the International airport. WOW! Desolate is how I would describe it. There was just no one around.
Checking through security was so much faster than I remember. It took me back to before 9/11 when you just showed your passport and boarding pass and put your bags on a conveyor belt (minus the hoopla of liquids in a plastic bag, laptops visible and coats and hats off).
By now, it was lunchtime, and I was a bit peckish. Nothing was open – I mean, even McD’s was closed – when does that happen? I finally managed to find a muesli bar that was dairy-free in a store that sold magazines, books, soft drinks and lollies. Then, after sitting, eating and looking out at the very few AirN.Z. planes on the tarmac, I headed to the gate.
Oh! So that’s where everyone was! The place was packed. People were reading, on their phones, on computers and doing crosswords. Others were simply sitting in the chairs gazing out the window. Hmmm, so everyone was going to Sydney?
And sure enough, when we boarded the plane, they all were!
It was a smooth flight. Then straight through customs without a fuss and out the doors to my waiting daughter. The hugs were immense, and the tears flowed.
It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally free to go where I want.
Thanks for dropping by, my name is Fee O’Shea. I’m a mother and grandma, an author and an Improver. I’ve got a resource website to help peeps go plant-based, I’ve scribbled six bookscentred around veganism, and have helped others write and publish their own stories. But this blog is for my thoughts, my rants, raves, reviews and things that have grabbed my attention. From politics to social media to beauty, health and the environment. Fee’s Ramblings Over Coffee is written to bring you a smile or get you thinking. Enjoy.
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