Monday, January 27, 2014

HOW TO COVER NEW SCHOOL BOOKS - Foolproof methods

Have you been attacked by contact adhesive plastic when you have tried to cover your child's school books? Are you teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown because you can't get the books covered without ending up in a sticky mess? I've made a short video (showing you the 'rookie's mistakes as well as how to do it the right way) to show you how to tackle this loathsome task. so here's the link to my YOuTube thingy..... Good Luck!
http://youtu.be/ZuyrqO9TOrA
Hopefully, my methods will leave you time for a nice cup of tea - my preference is peppermint, but a coffee will also hit the spot! Make sure you have a sense of humor for this job and the children out of the room - distractions can lead to sticky situations! Jacqueline

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Royal Wardrobe Malfunction



Poor Kate Middleton aka HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, it’s been discovered that she is a fashion rebel, or at least an unco-operative one. How dare she behave like every woman in the world and have favourite dresses that she wears more than once. It’s also damned outrageous to see a daughter borrowing clothes from her mother, this means that she has a normal relationship with the woman who raised her. I suspect that when the whole story comes out, we will find that her mother may not have even realised the dress in question was missing from her walk-in robe and that Kate will get an earful about respect for others, dry cleaning bills and asking permission first.

Kate obviously needs to understand that she is rightly being criticised by the press and fashion mavens because they demand a new outfit in every single photograph because otherwise they will have a huge file room of images of the Duchess in the same dress and the photo editor and papparazzi will be out of a job. Besides, Catherine should be behaving like a model who only borrows highly uncomfortable and anorexic fascist designed clothes worth thousands of dollars, and has nothing in her wardrobe except bikinis and jeans. The Duchess should know by now that over the top spending, feeding feelings of insecurity by becoming a clotheshorse on high fashion rotation, and giving up colours that she adores and outfits that have memories and make her happy, is forbidden, now she has to please the publishers of magazines and tabloids. For shame on her.

We must start an online petition demanding that she never wear any piece of clothing twice, including her underwear. And don’t even get me started on shoes! While we’re at it, damn austerity and personal preference, she doesn’t have the right to please herself and actually have a fondness for her clothes as old friends. She must understand that we demand out of control insecurity and psychological depression spending from her, and Kate must really work at destroying her relationship with her mother, and whilst she’s at it, her sister too. Her wardrobe alternatives must be cut off and denied to her. Afterall, who does she think she is? Anyone would think she is a middle class woman of thirty with a style of her own and clothes to match. Spend, spend, spend should be her new mantra, otherwise, how are the tabloids to create a thrilling backlash against her and her husband for their profligate ways?
You can follow me on Twitter: @Pascarl
or read my new weekly column in the Sunday Life Magazine in the Sun Herald or Sunday Age.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Code of the Sisterhood



When was the last time you faced abject humiliation? Have you ever had a wardrobe malfunction, or smiled blithely at all and sundry, oblivious to the spinach stuck between your teeth or the fact that your skirt was tucked into your tights? Did you wonder how many people had been aware of this mortifying situation during the past three hours but hadn't said a thing?

Which brings me to International Woman's Day, - whoo hoo, big deal most of us might say. A single space of twenty four hours meant to focus on who and what we are as women, our achievements, the inequality issues that still plague females globally, and the grinding poverty & lack of education that many of our gender still face. The same old media stories are rolled out infinitum - just rehashed snapshot vignettes that are put away until next year. All worthy stories, but hardly illustrative of how we function as a global sisterhood.

Now at the risk of sounding 'naff', many of you will be aware that there is an unspoken code, sometimes (hopefully) taught by mothers to their daughters about decency to another girl. It's the Code of the Sisterhood, where we females should be duty bound to come to the aid of another female should the need arise. It's not about life threatening situations, but it is about saving someone else from public embarrassment.

I've instilled it in my two girls, but never really had it come into play towards myself with anyone other than close friends, until International Women's Day last week. It had already been a hell of a day. After a dawn wakeup, and a morning so crammed with multi-tasking I must have resembled a demented octopus as I packed school lunches, combed out my wet hair, shaved my legs, answered four emails from another time zone, dressed, checked in online, cajoled sleeping children out of bed and into school uniforms, made breakfast, located shin guards for the youngest, applied makeup and medicated the dog, before scrambling into a taxi and tumbling onto a plane which had brought me north through turbulent air pockets and thunderstorms for what was meant to be a big career day for me. Capital C, capital D.

Standing next to the baggage carousel at Sydney Airport awaiting my suitcase full of the accoutrements needed for a major photo-shoot (shoes, magic knickers, jewellery, makeup, clothing) to mark my elevation to weekly columnist for a national magazine – (Sunday Life Magazine – Sun Herald/ Sunday Age newspapers from March 25th – sorry for the promo, but I have to get my readership up somehow), and running screamingly late, I felt a tugging on my hem.

I spun round to find a fellow passenger, an elegantly dressed Japanese woman accompanied by her adult daughter, and with a chauffeur hovering close by, attempting to remove what they had believed to be a price tag from the bottom of my attire. Sadly, and for what I took to be my would be rescuers horror, it was not an errant swing tag, but the actual label of my skirt, for in in my rush, I had managed to wear this garment upside down AND inside out. What I had viewed as a cunningly put together outfit, consisting of long pencil skirt, low cut camisole and waspish waisted jacket that would cut the mustard with the venerated Fashion Editor and Art Director I was due to meet in five minutes, was in fact, an unmitigated disaster. To make matters worse, I’d even sashayed a little through the terminal as I was pretty confident that the double pair of Spanx I was wearing had worked wonders.

But therein lies the lesson and the saving grace – my new found Japanese sisters had activated the ‘Code’ and attempted a ‘dignity salvage’ undaunted by language barriers or lack of formal introductions – they had ploughed in to pluck me from the jaws of ridicule with generosity and delicacy. Much pantomiming resulted, accompanied by discrete giggles and bowing as my rushed morning was explained. I left the terminal with my inside out skirt un-righted, but my shoulders back, my head held high and a huge smile on my face because we women can be truly international in our empathy and kindness towards each other – no matter the day.

Have you passed on the Code of the Sisterhood lately?

Twitter: @Pascarl

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kony 2012... But Africa will still wait until....


Forced child slavery & abduction, murder, the recruiting of child soldiers & the rape of young girls has been endemic in unstable parts of Africa for many years. Having worked there, I know that Kony 2012 is but ONE example of how local warlords behave. Minerals, specifically the alloys used in mobile phones,and the diamonds that are shown off in engagement rings, make terrorising local populations a profitable business and make children a cheap labour/soldiering force. How else do you think weapons are paid for? Ask more questions, research your purchases - are they 'clean', manufacturers & jewellers have certificates of origin. Look more broadly at aid projects and how, why and what an organisation does to help the local populace. Knowledge is power. View this film for background, www.kony2012.com but continue to make enquiries of you own. J

Saturday, January 15, 2011

GUMBOOTS galore but we need more for, Queensland, Australia, floods



Ok, so now I am the gumboot queen! May it be inscribed on my tombstone and proud of it... anyway, that is what someone called me down the line from Queensland when she spoke to me from the devastated area of Grantham, and even amidst all the mire and horror that she had witnessed, we both started laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. That's what I enjoy about aid work, and what I suppose I miss now that I usually live a 'civilian' life, instead of one that sees me dropping into war & disaster zones in strange and faraway countries; the black humour that cuts through the bullshit and is the safety outlet for some of the tension and the grief that shadows any aftermath of epic proportions, it's just as vital and as normal as the tears and the depression that will surely arrive too.

Strange that the wee hours of the morning often afford the best time for me to type out a situation report for Operation Angel. Or maybe it's just the the fact that I am sitting here finally able to stop answering phone calls and simply take stock, and far too exhausted to crawl into bed and actually sleep.

Some success at last with taming the unruly logistical beast that is humanitarian aid distribution. In total, we have 1800 new gumboots - (rainboots in USA & Wellingtons in UK)10 pallets poised and ready to ship out to Queensland. (1600 hundred airfreighted from New Zealand and a gift from the wonderful people at The Warehouse stores and airlifted by Toll Global & Qantas and 200 pairs from Bata) WE NEED MORE - CORPORATE DONATIONS IN THAT AREA. It's such a relief that a huge trucking company, TOll/Ipec Transport have offered to do any of our long-haul cartage for free. Bless them, because with such a vast continent, having a dependable and amiable partnership with a transport company is vital when shifting such huge quantities of urgently needed supplies.

Taking a deep breath and looking back at the past twenty four hours is quite a mental rollercoaster - dozens of phone calls, lobbying, negotiating, emailing and interview after interview, meeting after meeting. My poor 9 & 7 year old children, who are on summer school vacation, have been very patient with the slapped together meals and the multi-tasking mother. At least I managed to get a load of washing on and so an underpants crisis has been averted for the kids.

I had been finding it difficult to obtain extact delivery locales for our stock, but thank goodness for a good friend in the military who reminded me that to get any coherent answer from the relief operations in Queensland, I was going to have to remember to speak fluent 'army'. The upshot now is that Operation Angel will be despatching our first gumboot shipment of 10 pallets directly to Lockyer Valley and the central distribution point in Laidley. We've also got three pallets of feminine hygiene products from hip brands Moxie & de Jour who have supplied us with a mountain of stock. Water, water everywhere and not a dry pad anywhere! From experience, I know that tampons and sanitary napkins are always the forgotten essential item in these disaster situations but not on Operation Angel's list. When I phoned to let a contact at one of the councils in the bush know that we were sending them up to her area in the flood zone, she burst into tears telling me that the 'girls' up north were desperate for these items and having huge problems in the evacuation centres locating same.

Right from the beginning I have felt like a dog with a bone, unable to let go of the gut instinct that gumboots and other items for niche scenarios would be needed. Robyn Good, my great buddy and now Operation Angel co-ordinator, has been indefatigable in her search for more items from my list. Sarah Allen has kept the social media networks buzzing with our official updates and brilliant harnessing of our contacts.

Received a call late this evening from a commander with Emergency Management Queensland, confirming that we now have co-operative and cohesive communications with the shires and good delivery points for our trucks. I was pretty horrified when he went all official on me and said that he had also been tasked by his director to pass on his personal thanks and that of EMQ for Operation Angel's foresight to go about obtaining all the gumboots and other items well before anyone else had even considered the safety and health implications of contaminants and the soggy aftermath following the floods. Very grateful for the thanks, but also embarrassed because it felt overly profuse in contrast to what Queenslanders have survived and continue to battle.

So, now, for those of you interested in what else we are collecting or what we have to ship here's a little list and it goes like this:

* 40 Potable water storage tanks - 1 cubic metre in size - love a nice clean tank and could do with more
* gumboots, new and now pre-loved - more, more, more please (kids & adults must be taped together in pairs)
* 1000 new hairbrushes - Rapunzel let down your hair - well she would if it wasn't so knotted
* Metal tools - metal rakes, shovels & crowbars - feel free to raid that garden shed
* 3 pallet loads of tampons & pads - nuff said
* Industrial rubber gloves (black or red) - throw that gauntlet to us
* Work gloves - what can I say, I like gloves
* New underwear - URGENTLY NEEDED - don't get your knickers in a knot,head on down to Target or Kmart, use that Christmas gift card you got from Auntie Mary and pick up a 5 pack for us
* Air Freshener (no candles) - keep that post flood stench at bay, lavender or rose is what I say
* Insect repellent - roll ons - do away with the Great Aussie salute and keep Dengue Fever at bay
* Waders - calling all fishermen - give them to us, we honestly believe you about the one that got away
* Work boots - preloved or new - taped together in pairs they're no good for walking, but boy do they do a mean job up the floods
* Mosquito nets - foiled again the Dengue Fever mozzie will screech as it tries unsuccessfully to feast on a sleeping child. WE need these desperately and have so far only been offered a wholesale price - if we can't procure more (free) I am really afraid of an epidemic of epic proportions.

Time to sleep now. You can see an interview I did tonight with Jonathan Mann on CNN Internationl on the i-desk programme, airing at 10am eastern time & 1pm in the USA and across the world.

http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2011/01/15/intv.aid.for.australia.cnn.html

Sleep well and dream of gumboots - I will.
Please follow us on Facebook: Operation Angel
Forgot, drop off point for items listed above is: 10am to 4pm Operation Angel Warehouse, Unit 3/ 126 Fairbanks Road, South Clayton Victoria. If you are a corporate donor with substantial stock, we can arrange pick up by truck. Email us on: operationangelaustralia@gmail.com
Twitter: @Operation_Angel

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA FLOODS


NEWS RELEASE – OPERATION ANGEL FLOOD RELIEF – 12th January, 2011

In response to the devastation of the floods in Queensland, Operation Angel has been reactivated for the first time since the Victorian Bushfires.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/66157/nz-mp-seeking-gumboots-for-queensland

http://progress-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/hawthorn-angels-spring-into-action-with-clothing-donations/
http://www.entoure.com.au/operation-angel/
http://marinago.blogspot.com/2009/02/operation-angel.html

“If these waves of water inundated my friends, my family, I would hope that strangers would think outside the square and their own backyards to pitch in, just as we are doing with Operation Angel – geography and distance means nothing to Australians, we are all neighbours not hampered by miles. Local companies, and now those in New Zealand, are getting behind our efforts and pulling together”, says Operation Angel’s director, Jacqueline Pascarl.

• Operation Angel will concentrate on providing material assistance to the Toowoomba area & surrounds.
• Operation Angel has a very senior former Australian Defence Force officer as co-ordinator & distribution chief in Toowoomba. Ironically, he & his wife relocated to the area only four weeks ago, but are returning locals.
• Gatton is now on the list for OA’s activities and on the advice or our Queensland co-ordinator – contact will be made with local authorities to facilitate distribution once the rescue phase has been completed.

• Operation Angel will use our co-ordinator's property, 18kms south of Toowoomba as a distribution centre – we are also working on alternative distribution point in Gatton, East of Toowoomba which has been hit very hard by water.
• Operation Angel’s Queensland base is located in Wyreema, it is positioned atop a hill with good road access (once water has receded), all weather driveway, with watertight warehouse with roller door access
• Operation Angel has secured warehousing in Melbourne at Showtech, 15 Capital Court, Braeside Victoria 3195, via Operation Angel’s co-ordinator, Robyn Good.
• Operation Angel will be taking delivery of commercial quantities of 1,600 gumboots from New Zealand company THE WAREHOUSE via New Zealand MP, Clare Curran from Dunedin in the South Island, who is a personal friend. Ms Curran is also now in dialogue with Air New Zealand to cover airfreight to Australia, although we may need to turn to another airline for assistance as part of our back up. These gumboots will be essential to the survivors of the Queensland floods during the days ahead and the massive clean up, the boots will offer some protection against contaminants and raw sewage as well as debris and snakes.

In approaching you, I ask you to remember that in all the muck and devastation that has hit our fellow Aussies up north, leaving them with only the clothes they stand in, and that the following items have been identified in consultation with Australian Defence Force personnel on the ground in Queensland.

Operation Angel is NOT looking for personal donations or money from individuals, but rather commercial donations of practical items as well as services.

1. personal insect repellent will afford them both protection and some small comfort as Queenslanders & their children begin the hard slog ahead during the clean up, it will make the horrendous time they are facing just a little more bearable.
2. Mosquito nets for sleeping
3. Mosquito coils
4. Underwear
5. Hygiene/toiletry kits
6. Trucking services
7. Children’s & Adult gumboots (Wellington boots in the UK and rainboots in USA)
8. New towels

Unfortunately, some very large companies in Australia have asked Operation Angel for payment for goods or rejected our requests – we hope that by sending out this news, other corporations will come forward with offers of practical assistance in the crucial days ahead.

Jacqueline Pascarl, Director of Operation Angel
+61 (0) 3 9580 4176

Thursday, October 7, 2010

SWEDISH DOMINATION - THE OTHER SUPER POWER

IKEA dearest, excitement as your latest tome plopped into my letterbox with the all the promise of how shiny, organised and streamlined my life would be if I married my dollars to your flat-pack.
Ah dearest one, I enter your hallowed halls with expectations and delight, with wonderment in your innovations and pleasure in your primary colours.
Seven hours later, I emerged with the truth from the 'Seventh Circle of Hell' you call a store, the veil of infatuation torn from my eyes; having been funnelled like a drugged lemming through your maze-like halls amidst aisles of numbered items and towers of indecipherably coded boxes.
I had entered your portals with so much trust and hope, with a hankering for a small hook that could change my life for the better once installed in my entry foyer, but cunning torturer that you are, you brainwashed me into believing that if I filled my conveniently provided plastic shopping bag - the size of a small elephant - with paper napkins, two cushions, some plastic cups and a fluoro item (its origins of which, and purpose I am yet to determine), you would release me from your clutches and allow me to return to the bosom of my family - battle scarred and lighter of wallet - but free.
But it was all only a cruel promise – first you had one remaining ignominy for me to endure – the Checkout Counters of Hades. Other bleary eyed devotees queued like branded sheep, some pushing trolleys, others leading drooling male spouses by the hand – parched, natural light deprived, and utterly disoriented as to geographical direction, oh, but it was the tiny children I pitied the most – exhausted and fractious, I watched as harried mothers dug in the bottoms of handbags searching for a lint covered ancient mint to assuage the infants screams of pain – their begging for home and un-recycled air the most poignant of your victims. We shuffled towards the magic machines that would agree to take our money, we prayed for the holy zappers to accept the barcode release numbers for each and every item that we proffered on the counter of Swedish domination and design excellence, and we held our collective breath awaiting the denuding of our bank accounts and credit cards like impatient inmates of a gulag tantalised with freedom.
And as we stumbled towards our vehicles with our totems of modernity safely stowed in our newly purchased, but utterly un-recyclable plastic enviro bags, our eyes glimpsed your newest acolytes as they entered your siren portals, light of step and full of hope for the better life you promise and the thrill of globalisation. How we pity them. “Schmucks” we observe under our breath, “never again”, we mutter as we climb into our cars to claim the sanctuary of home. At least not until we need the next cunning storage solution proffered in your 2011 catalogue.