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Paint my Background an Atheistic Shade of Red

I have always been a make up fanatic/junkie.  Playing with my own make up and watching countless videos on You Tube it has always been a source of fascination that I can mess around with and be happy whether I end up looking like a model or in most cases end up looking like a mess.  The path to getting there will always be worth it.

Christmas 2012 was my make up dream, my partner spoilt me very much and reminded me how lucky I am to have him in my life.  I have not been able to stop using my presents since then.  I am starting to do make up trials for my mother’s wedding on myself.  I will be doing my mother’s make up on the day and so the make up trials on her will be starting very soon now.

In the meantime, I am experimenting on myself.  I know that I will be using the Karl Lagerfeld Mon Shu Red lipstick and also using the red nail varnish again from the same Shu Uemura range designed by Lagerfeld.  My mother bought them for me for Christmas alongside the bag with Mon Shu on it that she got for free for buying two products from the range.  ***I love that bag by the way, I have been using it for the past couple of weeks now even for work!***

Through this experimenting though I got to think about masks in general.  I do not have to hide my atheism that much in comparison to other people.  There are some countries where you would go to prison and worse if found out.  But I begin to wonder if I still do hide my atheism to a certain extent.  My partner loves me but prefers if I keep my non-belief to myself.  Whether its a notion of “well as long as he knows about my non belief” or the question of is he hampering my own freedom of expression?  Both are debatable.

I do wonder what response you the reader would provide in relation to the aforementioned…..are you happy to keep your atheism in the background when your partner knows about it but prefers it kept in the background or is that not good enough and you would want to express your atheism more fully and without it being hampered?

I know that I am happy with my atheism being in the background and him knowing about it.  I feel comfortable and I know I have other outlets for my atheistic ideas such as this blog here.  Is that good enough though…..should any relationship where non belief is in the background allow atheism to move forward from this background to be more integrated within it?  I am happy with the agreed status quo within my relationship but would you be?

I would even extend this to other relationships I have….my mother knows that I am an atheist.  Whenever she talks to me about it I give her my argument against the belief in god/religion.  In the end I get a response worse than “god works in mysterious ways” crap.  Instead I get the whole I am a lost cause and that I could never be persuaded otherwise to believe about a magical invisible man in the sky!

At work, on paper they know I am an atheist, when I filled out my job application they have that questionnaire at the end (most places of employment do these days) to make sure they are abiding alongside the whole “equal opportunities” stuff.  It will state in my file that I am atheist but without looking at my file they would be none the wiser so I wonder, based on natural assumptions, would a colleague look at you and think either a) you are a believer or b) you are an atheist?  I appreciate this question would have different answers based on your own geographical location and the various cultures within those locations.  But based on where you live in the world would it be answer A or answer B?

Do you choose to freely hide your atheism in the background or the opposite….are you forced to hide your non belief for fear of any violent response whether physical or mental?  If your answer is no to both then do you express your atheism in all areas of your life or just some?

I leave my atheism in the background in my relationship with my partner but then again, I choose to be very expressive with it with my friendships, my blog, Facebook statuses and if given the opportunity at work.  I say “given the opportunity” because the question of belief in religion or god does not materialise in my line of work.  It does not matter.  But if it did, then I suppose it depends.  If I knew I would not be put at a disadvantage by being discriminated against then I would be freely expressive, but if I knew it would hamper my career….I do not know.  I would like to say that would not matter but then again, if put in that position, I think I would be a weakling and be forced stay quiet as a result.  Would that make me a bad person to not be so steadfast alongside my principles if that was what I did in that situation?

This is hypothetical but I know that whether a response if from a real situation that has come about or you manufacture a response you think would result from a hypothetical situation, it allows me to learn more about myself and how I would handle myself in those situations either real or not.  Hence all the questions in this blog based on real and not real circumstances.  And if you have got this far in reading this blog entry, then firstly well done and secondly, if you have the time I would really appreciate your input in the comments section below.  I do read them all and its brilliant to learn from other perspectives.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Coeliac Plexus Block: Double the Needle Usage = Double the Trouble

Yesterday I was at the Pain Clinic undergoing my second operation – Coeliac Plexus Block.  Whilst I was waiting to be called into the operating theatre I was really scared because the last time I had this operation in August 2012, I was off work for over 1 month because my back was in so much pain.  The physiotherapist told me that the left hand side of my back (where the operation focused on) was in total spasm.  Back spasm hurts like a bitch people, be warned!

Anyways, I was really scared with this one because this time, the pain clinic surgeon was focusing on both sides of my back.  He was going to subject me to 2 big major needles on either side of my back to anaethetise my solar plexus (a mixture of anesthesia and steroids).  I had every reason to be scared as well!  In the operating theatre, one of the assistants was being really stingy with the sedative.  Last time, a different assistant gave me the right amount of sedative and the procedure went along fine with minimal pain (just a few pricks from the local anesthetic to numb parts of my back they were operative on).  Even the surgeon, when I spoke to him before the operation, told me that he remembered I got through it fine.  This time though, I was screaming in pain, during which I did tell the surgeon to carry on with the operation and not stop.  Coming all this way and being on the operating table, it would make no sense for him to stop now!  Every time the assistant gave me some more sedative through the drip they hooked me onto, it was very minimal (1ml at a time it seemed) and it did not do much judging by my screams!

***In this instance, when I mean “screams” I mean me going “Argh” in pain.  So not screaming like a female opera singer.  Glad we got that all cleared up there!!!***

The coeliac plexus is otherwise more commonly known as the solar plexus.  All the pancreas nerves go through this plexus and then runs up the spine to the brain.  The pain signals would travel this route and when it gets to the brain I then start feeling the pain.  With the solar plexus blocked, the pain signals will not be able to get to the spine and get the chance for the brain to be alerted for me to then feel the pain.

So far so good, but that big ass needle in August caused so much back pain and issues and this time I had to have two of them at either side!  Double the needles, double the trouble me thinks!  In exactly one month time it will be my mother’s wedding and I really do hope I will be well enough to get through the day without too much pain.  I kinda think though that this is me we are talking about and nothing ever goes to plan but at least with that second dress my mother bought me, I will look nice whilst getting slowly killed off with the pain!

So after the first 24 hours I am out of the woods as far as any possible internal bleeding is concerned.  Best thing about that was that if the surgeon had punctured a vein, he would not have known there and then.  We would have only found out that lovely surprise when I got home, my heart beats would increase to the point where it would feel that it was trying to thump its way out of my ribs and I would then pass out.  Glad to say that has not happened to me so yay for me!

The back spasms have started though, I have called my physiotherapist earlier on this afternoon and an emergency appointment has been set for next Wednesday.  The medication I have is helping and my partner is looking after me.  I am very lucky to have him in my life.

As a thank you to my wonderful partner, yesterday I bought us a take out curry.  I am a wimp when it comes to spices.  I love my dishes plain – I am the lass that goes crazy for bread sauce and turkey at Christmas.  But never the less, I do like a chicken korma with boiled rice and chippattis (9 in total).  BUT not a hint of spice in the dish.  You see, some curry houses think that with a korma, they can put a little but of spice in and it would not hurt.  It does with me, even a little bit and I can’t eat the rest of the dish, it does burn the roof of my mouth off – NOT an exaggeration.  I am simply a wuss/wimp/[enter your own appropriate descriptive word here] when it comes to curries.

If anyone tells me that they are going to pray for me and my health I really get so frustrated.  It is like they are bypassing the praise that should actually go on the doctors, nurses and surgeons trying to get my pain under manageable circumstances.  Their efforts mean nothing because there is a big invisible man in the sky that will make everything better for me instead.  Well by your logic, it was that big invisible man in the sky that gave me this sodding illness in the first place…..why would he then want to make me better when he was the cause in the first instance!?  You have just proven that your god is incompetent and contradictory, well done!

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Health Related

 

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De Converted: A Journey From Religion to Reason By Seth Andrews

I have finally received my book today, De Converted: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Seth Andrews aka The Thinking Atheist.  I ordered this in December a little before Christmas and I am so happy it has arrived and you can start getting really jealous in a minute because I was lucky enough to get it signed with a personalised note from the man himself!!!

I will include pictures at the end of this blog entry but I wanted to do a first review on the book as is.  At the moment it is available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle and audiobook format.  I will add the links below.  I originally ordered the book from The Thinking Atheist website.  It is very easy to order from this website (even for international orders such as ones I place myself).

I was impressed with the envelope packaging.  With air mail sometimes the item inside can get damaged but the envelope had a lot of cushion inside protecting the book.  The book itself feels really nice and looks very professional.  I love the design of the front cover with The Thinking Atheist logo prominently displayed.  On the back with the obligatory blurb that outlines what the book is about, it is short and to the point.  To the side of the blurb is a picture of Seth Andrews.

On a side note, for ages I always wondered what Seth looked like before he came out from behind the wall of internet radio for us all to see him.  I laugh at what I thought now but I thought he always looked like a guy with long brown hippy like hair, glasses, tall and lanky!  Kind of hippy circa 1960 kind of dude!  (My mind is in a world of its own!)

So this book is essentially one man’s journey from believer to unbeliever.  My only concern is that it is one guy’s story in 183 pages, is that enough?  I do hope so and all the reviews that I have read so far suggest that this is a cracking read so I better get on with it!

Amazon Atheist Book Chart as of Friday 11th January 2013 - absolutely awesome.....could we get it to number one though?

Amazon Atheist Book Chart as of Friday 11th January 2013 – absolutely awesome…..could we get it to number one though?

Links where you can buy different formats of the book from:

Audiobook Version
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-Journey-Religion-Reason-Unabridged/dp/B00AWKN9L0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357931659&sr=1-1

Kindle Version
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-Journey-Religion-Reason-ebook/dp/B00AM4UFSG/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1357931659&sr=1-1

Paperback Version
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-A-Journey-Religion-Reason/dp/1478716568/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1357931659&sr=1-1

The Thinking Atheist
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/

Pictures below of the book I received this evening 😀

De Converted: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Seth Andrews SIGNED with personalised message - I am so lucky :-)

De Converted: A Journey from Religion to Reason by Seth Andrews SIGNED with personalised message – I am so lucky 🙂

Debut book from the creator of The Thinking Atheist community and podcast.

Debut book from the creator of The Thinking Atheist community and podcast.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ordering a dose of deconversion and a “Bride-mother-zilla Update” amongst other esteemed mentionables

A few weeks back as soon as I got my wages for Christmas I ordered the new book written by Seth Andrews aka The Thinking Atheist.  I have been listening to his podcasts for over 2 years now and as a side note I miss the good ole days when I could listen live at 6:30 p.m. UK time.  Now he goes live at midnight every Wednesday when I am asleep 😦  But then its a good feeling when my iphone downloads the latest podcast in my list and I have a weekly present 😀

But anyways, back to the book – it has been shipped and on its way to me as I type signed and everything!!  I am honestly looking forward to reading this book and I have promised Seth that I will give him an honest review once have read it.  I will also put a review on my blog here as well for your viewing and reading pleasure.

It is now 13 days until my next operation as well at hospital.  I am looking forward to it because hopefully it will help with the pain management side of things but if it is anything like last time, I will be off work for a month and my back will be in a lot of pain.  My physiotherapist turned round to me and told me that it was in complete spasm which was obviously awesome news to hear.

It will be exactly a month after the operation that my mother’s wedding will happen as well, I just hope that I am well enough to get through that day.  Which by the way I have a “Bride-mother-zilla Update!”  Yesterday my mother text me telling me that I had to stop by her house on my travels home from work because she had bought me another dress that she wanted me to wear instead of the dress she bought me last weekend from Monsoon.  To be fair I really did like that dress from Monsoon.  I prefer that to the second dress she bought me but she really loves it and REALLY wants me to wear this one.  I am of the opinion of this is her day, I want it to be special for her so if she wants me to wear this second dress, I will do.  I do like the second dress, it is unusual and pretty.  I could be a diva and wear one dress during the day and the rock the other dress for the evening…..the diva within is tempted!!

It has also been two weeks since I have bought the iphone 5 as well.  I have to admit, I am a bit underwhelmed with it.  It is just like the iphone 4 in a lot of ways.  The only difference I find is the quality of the screen because as soon as I turned it on in the store I said straight away that I could tell it was HD.  I do like the new length of the screen as well.  But I use this iphone just the same as the last.  The Siri function does not feature highly in my day to day usage.  I do want to find ways to integrate this feature so I can get the maximum potential out of this iphone but honestly, I forget that it is there for me to use.  Also I hate the fact that when you integrate Facebook to the iphone, my contacts list then gets invaded by all these illegal aliens where most of them are just email contacts and I hardly speak to most of my “friends” on Facebook anyways.  It would be nice where I could integrate Facebook on my phone without the invasion on my contacts list.

And one final thing, what is it with this “hashtag” phenomenon inputting a “#” before a word or short phrase?!  I know that this is a Twitter “thing” but it has subsequently invaded my favourite celebrity and fashion magazines.  Please note editors and writers – it does not make you look hip, it does not make you sound trendy, it is annoying and does not make any sense within the English language.  Please stop abusing the hashtag in this way!

All that is left to do is to leave you with some links below to peruse in your own time but know in the background that there is an awesome mini me saying “buy buy buy!”

De-Converted by Seth Andrews
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deconverted-Journey-Religion-Seth-Andrews/dp/1478716568/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357246597&sr=1-1

The Thinking Atheist
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com

 

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Christmas Meal Battle and the Wedding Outfit Rush Around

Hey everyone

I know its been a loooong time but I really felt I did not have anything important or worth saying on here….until now.  I have the blogging bug back and it has come with a vengence!

So today, amongst other things, I firstly want to talk to you about my mother’s wedding that is coming up in February.  She does not want to do the bridesmaid thing but instead wants me to be a witness.  In addition, a registrar is officiating the ceremony in a hotel.  Definately awesome that its not going to be some long drawn out ceremony like the Roman Catholic church is hooked on but she is only getting married by a registrar as a technicality – she has been divorced before.  I think that if that did not matter to “The Church” then I certainly know that we would be dealing with a different kettle of fish!

But as luck and awesomeness would have it, a registrar and hotel it is.  She wants me to read a poem as “my contribution” to it all.  She had chosen these poems and wanted me to choose one.  I am doing one better and writing a poem myself – used to do a lot of that when I was younger, I just have to remember that it has to be simple with words she can understand and not depressing (seriously thats what she told me!)  And she also told me that it could not be all religious and stuff.  Now that was surprising hearing that from my mother and I had to remind her that this was me she was speaking to.  Judging by her reaction when I said that, I do not think she likes to be reminded that I am an atheist but I am not going to hide for no one.

In addition, originally I wanted to buy a new dress.  She saw a dress I bought from Italy earlier this year and decided she wanted me to wear that instead.  Yesterday I tried my dress on to make sure it still fits me and all of a sudden she has changed her mind.  I am now frantically looking online for a new dress.  I know the wedding is in February but I need to prepare NOW!

Other than that, Christmas in in a couple of days time.  Presents are all ready.  I do not know about you guys but I like the whole sharing and being together eating at a table part for Christmas.  For me, religion does not even enter this picture.  I am quite lucky because I have two Christmas meals on the day.  During the day I have dinner at my mother’s house, Italian Christmas meal with homemade lasagne.  Then in the evening I go over to my partner’s parents house and I have the traditional English Christmas meal that includes the big ass turkey and bread sauce.

Just a note on bread sauce:  I was introduced to this a couple of years back at his parent’s house and do not be put off with how it looks – it is yum with turkey.  I have also tried it with chicken and it is just as yum so I have an excuse to be able to have this the whole year through!

I will also be looking forward to the yearly scrap with my partner’s brother over the pigs in blankets!  If you do not know what I am talking about, those are mini sausages with bacon wrapped round them.  I won last year being able to nab the last one.  I know there is a rematch coming so I better be prepared.  Now since I am an Italian I have been trained all my life to EAT!

The most important present that I got for Christmas this year is something I bought for myself.  Very egotistical I know but this has been over 10 years in the making and very important to me.  I changed my name by deed poll.  My first name has stayed the same but I changed my last name to my mother’s maiden name.  I am not in contact with my father or his side of the family and quite frankly I never want to.  I have tried in the past but it always ends up the same, me feeling like crap and regretting it in the first place.  In addition, I do not represent or like the connotations that his last name represents and brings to me.  Therefore I took it upon myself to get it changed and done after thinking about it for over 10 years.  I got the deed poll documents through this week making it all official.  So now I am having to start getting my name changed with work, the bank etc.  I was the MOST excited getting it changed on Facebook (certainly a sign of the times there!)  I felt so proud once it was done and now I look at my name and I feel comfortable and at peace.  Now I am looking forward to getting my name changed at work – woot woot!

I hope you are glad that I am back to kick butt all over this blog once again.  For all you fellow atheist heathens out there that is reading this blog, what are you guys most looking forward to this Christmas?  Is it the same for you where religion does not enter the picture for you at all and you are able to celebrate Christmas for non religious reasons?  Or are you on the other side of the spectrum where you have to go with the flow and have to tag along to the church just to keep the peace with the family?  If so, how do you get through it?

Lots of hugs
Stefania

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Yearly Christmas Day Attempted Conversion

So who out there at Christmas dreads the meal times only for the simple reason that your family then tries to make you “see sense/reason?”  Not just me?  Well if not then I am glad I am not alone for having to go through all that!

***The following is based on a conversation about the religion of Roman Catholicism but can also be substituted into most of the Christian denominations as well.***

So what happened this year at the annual Christmas “try to convert Stefania” conversation?!  Well this year it was about death and religion.  Trying to scare me into submission and fear of the unknown they were saying things like, when we die “our spirit/soul” lives on.  We do not die completely, we live in in another entity and we will meet everyone who has passed on again.

The other conversion sayings are the following:
1.  There is too much energy within people for us to simply die and not live on.
2.  You have gone from one extreme (theist) to another (atheist), why can’t you just be on a middle ground!?
3.  Talks about reincarnation to state that we do live on after death through existence of a soul/spirit.
4.  Talks about how people will all of a sudden believe in a past life that they “used to live” and it being historically true.

I firstly stated that religion is based on superstition and contradiction.  It is based on an invisible god.  It advocates to love everyone i.e. The Golden Rule, but then in the Old Testament, it advocates genocide and rape!

I continued to state that there is no proof that a spirit/soul actually exists.  If it did then it would be physical and would thus be physically identifiable within our bodies.  As such, when people talk about spirit/soul, they are really describing the brain and the chemical reactions that happens within the brain that controls the rest of our body and emotions.

I then continued to state that people that all of a sudden think that they live a past life and come up with information that is actually historically true, are actually people subconsciously not realising what they have learnt either on tv, books, internet etc and then attributing it to some kind of past life.  Subconsciously manipulating themselves to believe something to be true personally to themselves.  Something that religion thrives on.

For them to say that I was going from one extreme to another in belief was pretty much a personal insult to me said out of anger when I would not accept their reasoning or beliefs.  Trying to make me believe that it is my fault I do not understand them because I am at a dreaded extreme.  This was very underhand of them to try and twist it psychologically this way but I explained that I believe in Science, reason and logic that shows undeniable proof of the inner workings of the world and beyond.

I agree with the late Christopher Hitchens and my favourite philosopher Jean Paul Sartre………when we die, that is it, we are dead, we are gone, disappeared, no after life, nothing.  The life we have on this world is no prelude to the next.  We should be acting within this world for this world.  To act for our fellow man because it is inheritantly right to do so, not because some religion dictates a set of rules we must abide by.  Therefore we should not be acting towards our guaranteed admittance into another world beyond this one.

Jean Paul Sartre: Humanism and Existentialism – “God is dead, everything is permitted.”

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Christmas Eve Rant

So this week, I have been in hospital, went out of hospital, went to work, went home, the usual (apart from finishing off the Christmas Presents acquisition to give to other people)!

When I was in hospital this week under one of my usual pancreas attacks kicking my ass, my mind was full of The Thinking Atheist and his presentation that he did at The FreeOK Convention earlier on this year.  (It is on YouTube and there is a link for you to see this piece of awesomeness at the end of this blog).

Anyways, the reason why I was thinking about this presentation, in it he makes a really good point.  Theists will say:

“Thank you God for your power in curing me and delivering me from the evil that enveloped your glorious creation!”

Wait a minute though……..What about the actual doctors and nurses who have actually done the work, they with their own hands cured them, not this invisible god!  Some theists though will thank the doctors but state that god was guiding their mind and their hands to cure them.  That is a bigger kick in the teeth!  Its saying:

“Well I know you physically cured me but you are just an empty vessel, you really do not know what you are doing even after YEARS of medical training and education because…….(wait for it)…….it was really god that cured me through you!”

Seriously people, I know between an all round might fight between a doctor and god I know which one I would bet on to win!  HINT: I would not bet on the invisible spaghetti monster!

And it goes even further with the theists!  When someone is ill, they pray to god to cure them/guide the empty doctor vessels to do the  dirty work for him/her.  No it cannot be a doctor that would cure an ill person, no it will be god that will physically cure us just through the power of prayer/doing absolutely nothing.

Religion in the past was used to explain to man what was unexplainable.  Now that Science is filling in these gaps of knowledge, how we get sick, causes of illnesses and disabilities, how to cure these maladies, how can people still attribute the answers to some divine invisible being?

Blah blah blah with the whole god is everywhere balls.  I can see a table, a tv, my fella, my dogs aka babies, my christmas tree, but no invisible god let alone the legendary invisible spaghetti monster!  So the moral of the blog today folks, when the doctor helps you with your pain, illness, disability and even as an added bonus cures it, thank the doctor, do not thank god as doing so is hazardous to your mental health.

Link to The Thinking Atheist Presentation at The FreeOK Convention 2011

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheThinkingAtheist#p/u/32/c7ZIZ-Upalk

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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