Sunday, December 27, 2009

Now that Christmas is over...

The next big thing around here, past NYE, is to have a baby.

So - we're going to celebrate everything we can find between now and then! Suggestions?

January 1 - New Year's Day
January 26 - Australia Day
February 1 – Imbolc, a Cross-quarter day (Celebrated on February 2 in some places)
February 14 – Chinese New Year / Valentine's Day
February 16 – Shrove Tuesday
February 17 – Ash Wednesday (first day of Lent)
February 19 - Fringe starts
March 5 - Womadelaide starts
March 8 - Adelaide Cup Day
March 15 - ides of March
March 16 - my 30th
March 17 - St Patrick's Day
March 20 – Vernal Equinox, also known as Ostara
April 1 - wedding anniversary / April Fool's Day
April 4 – Easter

What name shall we choose?

Seeing as we don't know the sex of Puggle, I thought I'd make a note of what sex people are predicting:
  1. Based on nothing at all / gut feeling, from everyone around me: About 75% are saying boy at the moment. (1:0)
  2. If you carry the baby out front (others can’t see your pregnancy from behind) then you will have a boy. If others can tell that you are pregnant when looking at you from behind, then you will have a girl. So a boy. (2:0)
  3. If the mother's age at conception and the year of conception are both even or both odd, the baby is a girl. If one is even and one is odd, the baby is a boy. So a girl. (2:1)
  4. Chinese calendar prediction: girl. (2:2)
  5. What side does the mum-to-be lay on while she's resting? If she lies on her left, it's a boy; on her right, it's a girl. So a boy. (3:2)
  6. According to a meta-old wives tale test, it's a girl. (3:3)
  7. Based on another meta-test: it's a girl. (3:4)
So most people around me are saying "boy" but most of the old wives tales are saying "girl" as is the Chinese calendar.

I'll let you know sometime around Eostre, ok?

It's a puggle.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What do you use vanilla sugar for?

One of the comments left on my blog recently said:
What do you serve vanilla sugar with/use it in? I've never actually heard of it! Sounds yum though!
And I thought - what do I actually use it for? Here are 10 totally random things I use it for:
  1. Sprinkle on top of baked goods instead of plain sugar
  2. Add to a cup of tea when you need some sweetness and comfort
  3. 30g (1T) in any baked good instead of vanilla extract
  4. Add to cocoa powder when making hot cocoa
  5. Add to a coffee or fruit cake to change the flavour
  6. 1tsp in a tomato dish helps to enhance the flavours
  7. Make a vanilla sauce for your next pudding
  8. Add it to stewing fruit instead of plain sugar
  9. Make icing or custard with it
  10. Smell when you need an uplift

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Default shopping

My friend Adele posted this somewhere else and I'm stealing it!

You get to the supermarket, grab a trolley and start walking, only to realise you have no idea what you need. There are two or three things on your list (in my case, the notes function of my phone), but those are all from the last couple of days. Before that, you were too distracted by school/work/Xmas parties to remember to write things down. And your spouse/partner/flatmate has done most of the cooking, so you don't really know what is in the pantry.

It's at times like this I do Default Shopping.

I buy one of each of the things I'm most likely to need - eg pasta sauce, gluten-free and normal pasta, milk, bread, corn kernels, jar of garlic, flavoured tuna. When I get home I compare what I bought to what I needed: sometimes I get it right (eg pasta sauce), sometimes I don't (Ve Hav Vays To Make You Drink Smoothies!).

Anyone else occasionally Default Shop?
I wrote back:
My default would be to grab milk, bread, fruit, pasta, tuna, tinned tomatoes, cream, toilet paper, soda water and kitty food.
which followed on from my post the other day about what's in my pantry. Truth be told I'd rather go shopping with a list or because I need something and rarely turn up to shop just because I am there, but hey I'm sure it happens that I go for one thing and end up with the above list "just in case".

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My house actually *does* smell like vanilla!

I made vanilla sugar yesterday as Christmas gifts for friends. It's a tradition among my friends to make food and share it around as a small gesture of love and this year I wanted to make something useful too!

So this year I made Bourbon Vanilla Sugar. It is SO easy it's not funny but is SUCH a lovely gift and so appreciated.

1 vanilla bean
1kg caster sugar
1 food processor or blender
jars to store in
double sided tape and another vanilla bean, if you're feeling adventurous

Put the caster sugar in the blender. Slit open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds/caviar. If you're like me, get vanilla goo on your hands and wipe it unstrategically on yourself so you smell like vanilla for the rest of the day and have random black dots on you. Put the scrapings on top of the sugar. Add the bean in as well.

Blend until you can see that the bean has been cut up finely, and that the little black spots are distributed well throughout the mix.

Seive the sugar to get the big bits of bean out (keep these in a jar for yourself for next time you want to infuse!). Pack into jars and pat down densely. Slice up the other bean into however many jars you have, and use double sided tape to stick a piece on the inside of the jar lid.


It gets better with time and age - 6 months or more is best, if stored in a cool dark place. But who can resist?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Reflections on the exam of doom

I only sat one exam this year as the other one I "took ill" in - I ran out of the exam to throw up and spent 3 days feeling very ill afterwards. This was for the subject that I've had to repeat because of my motor vehicle accident in 2007, and so it's effectively taken me 3 tries to sit.

Anyway, there were 13 questions. Of those, I barely had time to write (and certainly not neatly) everything that I wanted to, so chased the marks that were there and moved on.

But there were several questions that reminded me of why care providers are often lambasted as "scare providers". There were a couple of questions about:

- breech presentation
- being "over due"
- induction
- posterior babies

and usually the question was structured around "what is the definition of this / types of this" and then "what are the care options".

Now these questions are really important to ask and discuss and to know your stuff. But - they also put the frame around looking at these problems from a really frightened, defensive point of view.

Let's take breech for eg. The options for care and birth in my opinion are:
- do what you want/can to turn babe (moxibustion, acupuncture, rebozo, visualisation, chiropractic work, external cephalic version)
- find an attendant who is confident with attending you and embrace your breech babe

and if you can't:
- book a c-section for when you go into labour (contradiction in terms of course)

But if you're anywhere near a hospital for care for your pregnancy, the options would be:
- see an obstetrician
- have multiple scans
- have your otherwise lovely normal pregnancy pathologised
- book a c-section for immediate action before you go into labour
- panic, stress and worry

So you can see what my choice was for answering this question in the exam - chase the marks or being a hippy wingnut who isn't afraid of something not strictly in the "norm". And also you can see that student midwives are indoctrinated from such an early stage to be afraid of breech birth. And OP babies. And "post dates" which is so irritating as on one hand we're told that pregnancy goes to 42 complete weeks before being "overdue" and yet we as midwives are taught to get hysterical and Take Action at 40 weeks.

Go read The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn't when You Think to see more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 things I have to have in my pantry

  1. Tinned tuna - must have for making a quick pasta or rice dish, a salad, or lunch.
  2. Frozen vegetables - peas, corn and beans, as well as celery bits.
  3. Herbs and spice in small jars so that turnover is rapid.
  4. Plain flour and SR flour. Small purchases made (2 bags of 1kg eah) at a time to stay fresh.
  5. Eggs (always a half dozen at least), milk (UHT), cream (UHT) and butter.
  6. Butter - did I mention that? A couple of 250g blocks as well as a few wrappers from old blocks so I can grease pans.
  7. Vanilla extract.
  8. A surprisingl number of different types of sugar - brown, white, raw, caster, vanilla.
  9. Pasta and rice and cous cous and polenta.
  10. Cheese - grated in the freezer, block in the fridge. Cheddar, mozzerella, parmasen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

10 Craft things that I have on my brain

Yep there are 10 projects that I want to get through before Puggles arrives. Which is in less than 100 days. So plenty of time!

Some of these need me to be using power tools which makes me really happy to!
  1. Decorate gumnuts to be silver bells for Midsummer
  2. Make a 4 seasons tree
  3. Replace the glass in 3 frames - broken by moi, and by the cat, and by the heat dropping one off the wall
  4. Hang all framed pictures on wall hooks!
  5. Make a cotton reel board
  6. Make wall buttons and decorate the bedroom wall
  7. Make 2x baby quilts
  8. Finish Puggle's Duck Soup jacket
  9. Decorate the bed head
  10. Put the decals on the kitchen table

joyous blogger

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What I want to recycle next

I have a tshirt and 4 placemats that I need to do something with. Suggestions? I also have a lot of mdf and ply wood etc to play with.

I warn you - I have a staple gun, and a hot glue gun, and a sewing machine, and I'm not afraid to use them.

I'm going to use the placemats in something, and I have a heap of cork rounds that I want to decorate for the walls that are blank, cream, dull and ENDLESS in this house.

I also have wall plugs so I can hang some of the heavier items. Three have had the glass in them broken after falling off the wall, so I need to replace that glass as well. I used one frame for my FIL's 60th birthday gift:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

10 things on my mind

  1. December is such a crazy-busy time of year that I sometimes forget to do important things, like pander my feet. That's my plan for today!
  2. The back fence to our property faces our back neighbour, who recently built a new pair of houses to mirror the pair of houses that ours is part of. The fence is half down and lying in their yard. We are a naked house. And that means my pregnant belly is in full view of their house and I. do. not. CARE. Fix the damn fence or negotiate with the owner of ours to replace it with something of decent height.
  3. When did I get all grown up? Just this last weekend I took my pregnant belly out and went house hunting with Kate and it was weird to be doing all this Adult stuff.
  4. But it has got me thinking about buying a house with the settlement that I'll get from the accident on 2007. A little house all of our own? That'd be amazing. I've never really thought about owning a house but now it's on my mind.
  5. I have one more woman due to birth this year and then I'm done for 2009. Which is sad. I have none lined up for 2010 which is scary.
  6. Less than 100 days to go til I'm a mother and really that means nothing to me because what the heck is 100 days? 3 months, 12 weeks, etc etc, are much easier to comprehend.
  7. I have painted toe nails and am happy. Despite being 6 months pregnant, it's not that hard to sit on the ground and paint them, or shave my legs. Which I do approximately quarterly ;).
  8. I am starting to feel "nesty" and that's amusing! I have gardened this week, and cleaned up Puggle's room, and started some Christmas stuff as well.
  9. What I haven't done recently is knit. Which is surprising given that I was not that long ago OBSESSED with it. I think I need to start knitting some baby things.
  10. I have conquered my ipod - I've managed to rename it, convince its calendars to synch with Google calendar *and* Facebook, get my old music off my old ipod and give it on to TheHusband, and upload music to it with gay abandon!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What giftmas means around here...

Christmas is one of those things that we don't really get in to around Chateau Archer - mostly because it's so commercial and because we are not Christian so it's strange to celebrate a festival such as that.

However, we are both Aussies and it is such a core part of our culture that it's hard not to enjoy bits of it and to be caught up in it. For example, I love singing carols because I'm a soprano, and I love the descants, and it's fun. But some of the words are annoying, and some of the themes/stories go against my grain, but in the end it's part of my culture still.

So we kind of have a hybrid celebration of the end of the year. We do gifts, but it is minimal and not hugely over the top, and limited to close family and friends. Not-so-close family and friends get a card, or something small and foodie. This year I'm planning on making vanilla sugar, and some gingerbread people, and maybe more lemon butter if I can get my hands on lots of jars.

I also like to craft for Christmas - this year I'm planning on making modern paper ornaments from Design Sponge, and decorating some pine cones for wall art, and scenting some for a centrepiece. I also want to make a wreath, and put it on our door. I don't want snow-themed goodies, or snowflakes etc as it doesn't snow here, and it is hot during summer so it's not true to form - but I do want some colour and theme around here! Maybe something like a puzzle piece wreath, or else a pine cone one, or a ribbon one?

We actually celebrate the summer solstice more than Christmas anyway. The solstice is also someone's birthday this year, and the day after the Carols by Candlelight that I'm arranging people to attend because it's fun. It's about the longest day of the year and the turning of the seasons and the celebrations that should surround that. It's about eating food that is in season (oh cherries, how I love thee!) and being with people who've made the year what it was.

Part of thinking about this is because next Christmas, we'll have a Puggle to bring into this. We are leaning towards a toy-free giftmas approach, and a focus on what we are celebrating rather than what others are celebrating. It's also about family and friends and what makes us part of a community.

Traditionally for us, we go to the Adelaide Rowing Club on Christmas morning and carol to raise money for our choir. Then we go home, pop a roast in the crock pot, veges in another, and then relax on the couch with "Love, Actually". Then we open the house from about 2pm for any waifs, visitors, travellers, Christmas orphans or those that are between functions (after lunch and before dinner). That carries on into the night when we fire up the bbq and have a progressive dinner, and my sister provides dessert, and we celebrate the end of the year together. Then we'll pack the dishwasher and go to bed.

This year we are doing that but are going to the SIL's place for lunch. Which is fine but by that stage I'll be 30 weeks pregnant and will not be up for cooking, cleaning, dish washing, child wrangling or other activities, especially if it is Hot. I will try to be cheery when spending time with extended family that annoy me, and I will try to enjoy being pregnant through summer.

Oh and lastly - I always buy myself a Christmas present. I pick something I really want, and I buy it and enjoy it. This year I am buying myself some Birkis because I am starting to struggle to do my shoes up, and they are SO damn cute that I will be very happy with them:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pregnancy and birth plan - what with 100 days to go!

In roughly 100 days I will have a baby, and I'll be a mother, and life will be different. I am enjoying this phase of pregnancy - I am round and gorgeous without being ungainly and uncomfortable, I am glowing without being exhausted all the time, and

So some plans for pregnancy and birthing:
  • I will have one or two midwives throughout my pregnancy, birth and postnatal period - I would love to work with a midwife that I know and have a recently started midwife in independent practice "apprentice" to her for my pregnancy
  • I will not have any screening tests as I know my blood group, and we do not want unnecessary ultrasounds
  • I will labour at home
  • I will birth at home
  • I will spend a lot of time in water
  • I will use hot water, massage, dance, noise, pressure, for pain relief
  • I will eat and drink as I labour, as I want
  • I will listen to music and have already had thoughts about music to listen to (suggestions welcome!)
  • I don't want people to talk to me - entertain yourselves!
  • I will have Osk there with me
  • He will catch the babe and announce the sex
  • I want to have the process videod
  • I will breastfeed
  • I will have a "lying in" for a month afterwards - a milky, cuddly babymoon
  • Osk will take paternity leave
  • We won't buy a pram but instead will use a sling and mei tai
  • We will co-sleep
  • We will not immunise immediately but will consider each
Yep a fairly definitive and bolshi list but hey - it's not a contact sport, it's not a spectator sport, and it's really important to me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Welcome to the world - Toni Childs

Awesome song that I heard on a birth montage the other day. Now I want Toni Childs' music to birth to!

Hush, now
And go to sleep
Go to sleep my baby (repeat)

Let me welcome you to this world
And let me tell you of my world
How it is
And how it is
You want to know now
I want to say that it's a bad world
And tell you that it's so, so bad
I don't want to disappoint you my child
But this world is gonna take you
Gonna take you by storm child
You will be hurt and there will be pain, yeah
But there will be love just the same, yeah
Welcome to the world my boy and girl
Welcome to the world, welcome to the world

Welcome to the world child
And all it has in store
You will do what you do
What you choose any old time
And take how you take
You'll begin to find
That fight as you fight as you will in life
Solutions, confusions
Won't you take this time now

I want to welcome you to this world
And yes, there'll be days and nights
When you know the world is alright

Round and round the world we go
Easy come, some say, easy go
The world could be a better place
But it's going to take the whole human race
We want to welcome you to this world
And yes, there'll be days and nights
When you'll wonder is the world right
We want to welcome you to this world
And yes, there'll be days and nights
When you'll know the world is alright

We all bounce on the big world ball
Come child, come with me
Come and bounce onto this world and see (repeat)

We are joy
We are light
We are darkness and we are night
We are hands and heads and ears and nose
We are feet, fingers, limbs and toes
We all, we all
We are bouncing on this big world ball

We pull triggers
We play with guns
We play with shoelaces and we twist our tongues
We are kisses
We are huggs
We are the match that will light you off

Saturday, November 28, 2009

10 not so important things that are things on my mind

  1. I am in the market for a new watch.
  2. Have had a touch of something gross this week.
  3. The exam I sat on Wednesday is now part of the "the subject that never ends" because of (2) - I have to resit it.
  4. Stuggling to get my ipod touch to sync with a calendar.
  5. 24 weeks down and Puggles is kicking up a storm.
  6. I see myself in a sarong for summer but am yet to find one I like. I might have to brave ebay.
  7. Speaking of summer - we renewed our lease the other day for another year.
  8. Augh the internets. They are broken and then they are fixed for $110 and some very highly skilled guy coming over to unplug the alarm system.
  9. Money is crap and tight and it's only another 12 weeks before I go on maternity leave.
  10. I need new shoes and a few other things and see (9) for why this is a problem.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A step somewhere...

This motion from Senator Siewert that was moved in the Senate and agreed to today:

Senator Siewert: To move—
(1) That the following bills:
Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009
Midwife Professional Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Bill 2009
Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth Contribution) Scheme Bill 2009,

be again referred to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee, together with the Government amendments to the bills circulated on 28 October 2009, for inquiry and report by 1 February 2010.

(2) In undertaking this inquiry, the committee shall consider:
(a) whether the consequences of the Government’s amendments for professional regulation of midwifery will give doctors medical veto over midwives’ ability to renew their licence to practice;
(b) whether the Government’s amendments’ influence on the health care market will be anti-competitive;
(c) whether the Government’s amendments will create difficulties in delivering intended access and choice for Australian women;
(d) why the Government’s amendments require ‘collaborative arrangements’ that do not specifically include maternity service providers including hospitals;
(e) whether the Government’s amendments will have a negative impact on safety and continuity of care for Australian mothers; and
(f) any other related matter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday decoration ideas!

Sooper Bloomers is a lovely little etsy shop that I am in love with and am seriously wanting on the Starry Holiday Ornament for my tree. I want to collect an ornament for each year that Puggle is around. This year is not technically their first giftmas and while we don't celebrate per se, I want to have something to celebrate the end of the year and giftmas ornaments are easy to do.

I highly recommend going and visiting. I'm about to check my paypal account to see if I can afford a brooch ;).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Henna and bellies and exams, oh my!

I have a heap of photos to share but because our internet is dicky at the moment I can't rely on it to stay up long enough to link to them. So I'll do it in dribs and drabs, ok?

Here are some from yesterday, where I hung out with a whole heap of people from Joyous Birth and did a heap of things including having some henna on my hands and belly. Belly shots are to come so here are the hands:

This is the mixture on my hand - it's now a lovely chocolate woody brown and will darken over the new day or so.

Here is my belly cast - Alice did it for me at 23 weeks because I wanted one roughly halfway through, and then at the end. I'll upload a how-to soon!

Here's the bump:

And lastly a photo of the photo we had printed and framed for my FIL's 60th birthday last weekend:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Almost to the end

I had plans for Friday morning but instead ended up making sweet sweet love to my LAST ASSIGNMENT FOR THE YEAR and then went to my LAST SHIFT FOR THE YEAR at a hospital and shared an amazing empowering birth with a woman whose previous birth was traumatic and this one was amazing (her words, not my judgement).

I now only have 18 units of my degree to go (oh and two exams and a portfolio but *meh*). I am struggling a bit to just. keep. going when I want to be focused on work and nesting and being pregnant. I have two solid subjects next year to get through, including big placements

Today is a delicious day off. TheMan has gone to the gym to do a double class - RPM then pump. He is bringing coffee home for us though.

Then we need to tidy the house. It is clean, just not tidy. It's the effect of spending 6 months doing 99% of things and discovering that at the end of 6 months, that means there is stuff and things around the house waiting to be put away.

The study is slowly turning into Puggle's Room. I refuse to call it a nursery as I don't plan on nursing in there, and s/he won't be in there by themselves for ages. I will take some photos shortly to show!

The shopping list is shrinking:

  • Nursing and maternity clothes for moi
  • Reusable cloth pads for moi (12 x Regular and 6 large)
  • Mattress protectors x 2 (for our bed)
  • Sheet set x 2 (extra for our bed)
  • Nightlight (actually yes I want a touch lamp for beside the bed and these are hard to find!)
  • Lambskin baby rug
  • Singlet suits x 10
  • Knitted hats x5 (have new book for these! Now to buy some yarn to make them with :)
  • Baby wipes (both disposable and washable)
  • Nappy bucket(s)
  • Thermometer
  • Steriliser (bottle/pump) (want a microwaveable one)
For later:
  • Storage containers for milk/food
  • Training cups
  • Bowls, plates, utensils
  • Teethers/teether toys
  • Teething gel / Razberry
  • Non-slip bath stickers
  • Safety gate
  • Powerpoint plug guards
  • Cupboard & appliance latches
  • Potty
  • Toilet training seat
And a few big things that we want:
  • Chest freezer
  • New car (we have a 3 door hatch at the moment and are going to have to upgrade to a 5 door at some point soon)

Monday, November 2, 2009

How's the pregnancy going?

I get asked it a lot and I guess you, my loyal blog readers, should hear some more about it.

I am now coming up to 21 weeks pregnant. That is pretty much set though I'm measuring 1cm in front of that "guideline" by fundal height, so who knows what that means. But in terms of due date:

"Recent research offers a more accurate method of approximating gestational length. In 1990 Mittendorf et Al. undertook a study to calculate the average length of uncomplicated human pregnancy. They found that for first time mothers (nulliparas) pregnancy lasted an average of 288 days (41 weeks 1 day). For multiparas, mothers who had previously given birth, the average gestational length was 283 days or 40 weeks 3 days." Source

So 41 weeks and 1 day puts my due date at 25/03/2010 rather than 17/03/2010. Now for me, it matters not when bub arrives - I am comfortable knowing that sometime before Ostara next year, we'll be a family of 3. Which I what I'm telling people - either that bub is due in March sometime, or else "before Ostara/Easter".

What is amusing is if I tell people I'm 21 weeks, they'll go "ahuh", like it means something to them. If I say "5 months", then the assumption is that I have 4 left to go. If I say "March" invariably people go "wow you're big/small for that!", like they have any idea of what I should be now.

By the way I've updated my 101 in 1001 days list and need to get my bum into gear as it's now less than 2 years to go!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Paganism 101

Lammas - first week in Feb
Mabon - autumn equinox
Samhain - April 30th
Yule - winter solstice
Candlemas - first week in August
Ostara - spring equinox
Beltane - first week November
Litha - summer solstice

You Call it Christmas, We Call it Yule

You Call It Easter, We Call It Ostara

You Call It Hallowe'en... We Call It Samhain

You Call It Groundhog Day, We Call It Imbolc

You Call it May Day, We Call it Beltane

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I seem to have an opinion on everything but today's is on jars.

I made lemon butter today (the Australian Woman's Weekly recipe but similar to this one from Best Recipes) and used some of the jars that I've been keeping to store it in for Giftmas presents and for eating as well.

But I used a variety of jars and had a variety of experiences with getting the labels off them. The worst offender was Beerenberg which is a shame as the jars are a great size, especially the little sample-sized jars. The labels just would NOT come off - not with soaking, not with a bread knife, not with swearing, no way and no how. So that jar will be for home use I guess!

It is frustrating when things like this are put in the way of reusing so that I can just do something here without adding to the pile of crap associated with modern living or get into the "is recycling worth it" debate...

But I do have lemon butter now!

Monday, October 12, 2009

So how was your weekend?

My weekend was hard. I got told I'm getting fat, and for some reason it really cut to the bone. I got told I'm cranky... and yes, I was cranky. I was tired and not wanting to be on the service desk dealing with stupid returns all day. A serious dose of cbf .

Plus from about 2pm I had serious Braxton Hicks and they were not fun. I need a stool and possibly shorter shifts.

Plus I'm not sleeping well (with recurring, nasty, wake up in a sweat dreams) because of anxieties:
- having a csection
- having a less than physically perfect bub but being blamed for the choices we've made re scans
- having something go wrong that is My Fault because of what I eat or the exercise I do/don't do
- having to formula feed

And then there's the grief I got from my aunt because I have nothing to do with my mother, who lives locally, and she (mother) doesn't as yet know about bubba. And my aunt is distressed to know the situation but not want to be involved when the shit hits the fan and my mother finds out. Why yes, family dynamics are teh fucked around here.

And I don't care. I have made it clear to my mother that unless she has nothing to do with my older brother, I want nothing to do with her. As he has a daughter whom my mother (really creepily) dotes on, she is not about to cut off that contact, ergo I have nothing to do with them.

It's not that hard to work out, is it?

And I don't HAVE to tell ANYONE about my pregnancy and the last thing I want to do is to sell out my child to have a relationship with my mother.

And then there's the drama of wtf am I going to do next year with uni and a newborn, but not wanting to defer for another year until I finish.
And money.
And settling an insurance claim from an accident 2.5 years ago.
And dealing with uni.

PHEW that felt good to get out. I'm going to visit Medicare today, and bank a big cheque, and look at memento books, and have a meal with a friend, and get out of the house.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

So why even comment on it?

Today TheHusband bought thick thread and new needles and hemmed his jeans. Both new pairs. They needed about 2" taken off them and he wanted to do it by himself.

I wanted to make curtains. But I showed him how to wind a bobbin and thread the machine, as it's relatively new to us, and then let him be.

He hemmed the pants while I pinned the new curtains together* and then I got to sew my curtains before he booted me back off to sew his other pair of pants.

Now, I'm pretty progressive and equitable in our relationship. He vaccuums, I cook. He does the washing, I do the dishes and clean the bathroom/toilet. Or vice versa. Or whatever. We both work in retail but he does a more manual job. He likes to ride, I like to swim.

So why today did I have the urge to go and change my FB status to something pithy like "is waiting for her husband to finish hemming his jeans" like it was something noteworthy that a guy was on a sewing machine? Is it still noteworthy that a man was doing a typically-female pursuit? His dad makes horse rugs and taught him how to sew at a young age. I on the other hand detest hemming and would rather not wear a pair of pants at the moment, than hem them. It's just a skill and nothing particularly in need of breasts or ovaries (or a baking fetus) to do it.

And yet I am blogging about it.

*Easiest curtains - buy heavier fabric and some cheap tab-top curtains, and sew a panel of one onto the front of the other. It looks neat and unique while also recycling some really daggy old tab-tops that we had, and

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How does it go?

blah blah blah state of the world etc etc and btw i'm pregnant

congrats. where are you having it?

at home

is that safe?

well yes - i have a private midwife and am well supported with my husband and friends

but it's not safe to do it at home! think of the children!!!


I have to bite my tongue because:
(a) it's none of your business where I have my baby
(b) not safe based on what? Have you looked at the research? Because in making an informed decision, I have done a lot of research. Have a look at Wikipedia or a recent Canadian Medical Association Journal article for easy understanding:
Planned home birth attended by a registered midwife was associated with very low and comparable rates of perinatal death and reduced rates of obstetric interventions and other adverse perinatal outcomes compared with planned hospital birth attended by a midwife or physician.
(c) not safe compared to what?
(d) still none of yur business
(e) I don't think that FOR ME, birth in a hospital is normal, natural or safe and to have a normal vaginal birth in a hospital without unneccesary interventions is a miracle rather than the norm and those interventions cause problems. There are lots of potential downsides to birthing in a hospital - they're used for treating sick people, there is little to no continuity of care or carer, there are clocks everywhere, they are a business and fast turnover is of the essence, the definition of normal is very narrow and anything outside of it is scary to care providers, and the outcomes are no better for all the interventions.
(f) I am a fit young healthy woman and have no need to hire a surgeon for a natural life process, I have hired a professional and expert in normal birth, and am quite prepared for a natural birth, "pain" and all.
(g) There is no pain free way of giving birth, and I am prepared to work with the sensations rather than against them, so don't need to plan my pain relief now beyond having a spot for a birth pool and knowing that we have unlimited hot water.

Same goes with having ultrasound scans, or blood tests, or xrays, or pelvimetry, or combinations thereof.

Informed choice does not mean agreeing with you.

I don't have to agree with you and you don't have to agree with me.

How do I marry these opinions with being a student in the health care system though? I am quite capable in a professional capacity to offer you choices (or are they decisions between two options? A topic for another post I think), discuss them with you, note which you've chosen and go from there. It is none of my business what you do with your body or baby, except from a point of view of a professional discharge of my duties. When in a traditional care situation (hospitals) I can't care for the outcome of your pregnancy from anything other than a professional point of view, because I would burn out. And if I believed in ethical practice, which I do, I also believe in autonomy and the right to self determination in health care. And by the time I see people on a postnatal or labour ward, they've made their decisions and chosen their care path and it is none of my business to judge those decisions. I don't have to agree with yours and you don't have to agree with mine.

And yes, I could just say "local hospital" or "random doctor" and lie about where I'm birthing, to avoid these conversations and having to justify myself. Instead I just smile and say "I've hired a private midwife to undertake my care" and leave it at that. Which is hard and harder at the moment when I'm in a private hospital on placement. I just try to choose who I discuss these things with.


And the upsides of birthing at home? Here are 10:
  1. I know where stuff is, and so does my hubby. That means we have some of the power back in this situation cause mw Julie will have to ask where things are!
  2. The house is colonised with our bugs already. I doubt there's anything nasty hanging around (dust bunnies not counted here).
  3. I don't have to go home after giving birth.
  4. I don't have to be alone unless I want to be.
  5. I don't have to ring a bell and wait for anything or anyone.
  6. There are no machines that go ping. Except for the microwave.
  7. There is not going to be a trip in a car in labour.
  8. I get the absolute and final say over who is going to be at my birth.
  9. I will not be up on a bed at a convenient height for my birth attendant.
  10. My babe will be born where they were conceived.
  11. I don't have to have a change of care provider mid-labour, or explain my birth plan, or decline drugs, scans, CTGs, vaginal exams, etc etc, at every turn.

Monday, September 21, 2009


In the past week, I've heard the following words mangled:
  • epitome (not pronounced EPY TOME, BBC I'm looking at you!)
  • ominous (the CTG was not OM NEE US, senior midwife)
  • heinous (that one was in the paper yesterday, written as HAINESS)
  • denigrated (the word is not DEGENERATED - that makes the sentence make no sense whatsoevah)
It cracks me up to hear and see people struggle with big words. If you're not sure, then pls don't use them.

Says the girl who famously said CHARGIN not chagrin, and OWN VIOLATION not volition :).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

14 weeks down, 26 to go

So a brief pregnancy update:
  • This week feels like it is going very slowly and I keep thinking I'm 20 weeks or so but nope, just 14.
  • My fundus is up around my navel. Then it's down low. Then it's on the right. Then down low. It's all sorts of weird.
  • I am feeling flutters that aren't just wind. Which is amazing and so amusing and awe-inspiring.
  • I have a headache. Again. Damn hormones.
  • I'm going to get a shirt that says "Yes I'm pregnant, No we're not having any scans, Yes I'm as far along as I said, No it's not twins, Yes we are birthing at home, No we aren't booked into a hospital"

Monday, August 31, 2009

Care providers are creatures of habit

How I wish I could explain this to women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. There is a huge need for women to understand:
  1. care providers are creatures of habit so you need to find out what they do through habit (which is not a bad thing necessarily!) rather than just what their philosophy is;
  2. care providers are not going to change their way of providing care, just because you have a birth plan that says you don't want something they usually do;
  3. some care providers can't remember your name, your preferences, your due date or your birth preferences and don't care about them either because it's all there in your file;
  4. having an obstetrician does not guarantee you continuity of care or carer; and
  5. care providers provide care in a system that does not know you exist and don't care specifically for You as a person.
This means:
  1. Asking questions can be really hard, because unless you know people who have previously used that care provider, then you have no examples to go by. But ask questions from the beginning about how they'd manage something or advise you on something, and see what that says.
  2. Again, it's hard to find out the information you need but an open, honest conversation about something that you do or do not want (cord clamping, episiotomy, induction before 42 weeks, breastfeeding support, injections, scans, etc etc) can tell you a lot about their approach.
  3. This may or may not bother you. Work out if it does. If it doesn't, maybe ask yourself why it doesn't matter to you that your care provider remember who you are, even vaguely. Are you not worth that much of their brain time? If it does, work out if it's something that you want to face for the next year or so.
  4. On so many levels, I understand why women assume this. It doesn't mean that your ob cares about you or remembers you (see #3 above). It also doesn't guarantee that they'll be there for your birth. And if you want any mother craft advice, they are also not going to give it to you. They are experts in gestation, and surgery. Pregnancy and birth are not the same things as these! You may birth when they're busy, out of town, at a conference, or with another patient. And how they are in clinic may not be how they are at the birth. It also comes in to #5.
  5. The care you receive during your pregnancy, birth, post natal period and early motherhood should have everything to do with each other. But if you have an obstetrician, it won't. They will see you a couple of times postnatally but you'll be in the hands of the hospital you birth at, and basically without support for the rest of the time. If you go through a public antenatal clinic, it also won't. Same with a public system birth of most kinds - you'll be without support once you leave the hospital.
This post is brought to you by the gnashing of teeth responce I have every time a young, healthy woman signs up with an obstetrician for continuity of care or carer, without asking any questions or trying to see the bigger picture. And I am yet to work out how to say these things face-to-face without looking (more) like a weird midwife hippie.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What is the big deal about changes to midwifery?

It's not about whether you agree with birthing at home - it's about whether it should be made very difficult (if not illegal) to be attended by a qualified professional in the place of your choosing. It's about whether midwives should be allowed to register and practice as midwives in a setting of their own choosing, and in line with the guidelines that already guide their practice.

It's about women's rights as well. If the push was to stop elective c-sections, or the use of epidurals, then there'd be outrage! But because it will only affect a small number, it's apparently ok to take away this right?

And the small number of births probably has a lot to do with the fact that it will cost upwards of $3k to birth at home, whereas a birth in a hospital costs nothing, because one is covered by Medicare and the other isn't. This, plus the small number of midwives in private practice, means that a lot of women just aren't able to access the option, regardless of their preference.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My newest party trick

We heard the heartbeat yesterday so are pleased to announce here that we're baking an Easter bun!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From Hansard today...

"We have seen a much more progressive attitude in the private sector in Western Australia where the benefits of this legislation will also be immediately utilised. The private sector in Western Australia is poised and ready to deliver community health care to Western Australians in ways that have never been imagined before. I have one large charitable organisation in Western Australia which is currently examining the concept of providing home services which are a virtual hospital. They can employ nurse practitioners and other

health professionals to go out into patients’ homes and provide Medicare subsidised elements of health care ordinarily available only in hospitals. We know that that will have some distinct advantages in assisting people to remain in their own homes. Most of us prefer to be at home than to be admitted to hospital."

This was spoken regarding the nurse practitioners and midwives bill(s) before Parliament at the moment. But not relating to homebirth or midwifery services. This smacks of rank HYPOCRISY - that a Labor member can get the concept that people want to remain at home for health care, but not that they want to birth their babes and start a family in the privacy of said home.

Q: What do you think is the primary fact that causes women to fear, or not trust, birth?

A: Fear mongering from the press and medical establishment. Lack of options. Difficulty connecting with natural birth support networks.

Nine essential elements to achieving the birth you desire:

  1. A deep conviction in your ability to birth
  2. At least one person who shares this conviction to support you through the entire journey
  3. Birthing with practitioners who are committed to birth rights, compassionate and normal birth and motherbaby-friendly standards of practice
  4. Taking responsibility for your physical and psychological well-being and preparing yourself
  5. Avoiding birth conversations with people who don't share your conviction
  6. An ability to sort through or tune out all the conflicting and fear-based information and advice which bombards pregnant women
  7. An ability to say NO
  8. An ability to explore the unconventional
  9. Patience

Monday, August 17, 2009

Insert witty subject line here

I slept for 12 hours last night. I was done done done at 8pm so I went to bed. I woke up at midnight and had a snack and a read for an hour, then Osk got home and I went back to sleep. And woke up at 8am. I am now drinking a coffee while watching the men at the building site behind our house pour cement from a cement mixer into another truck, which then has a LONG hose that goes up up up and then down down down so they can put it in the right spot.

I can see all of this because the back fence to our property belongs to the property behind us. As such, when the old house got pulled down and the block cleared, the load-bearing garden got taken away and so the fence has gradually been falling over into the property behind us. We had crazy weather on Saturday night and then meant one piece has now fallen off and sometime today I'm going to ask the workmen to nail it back up so we can have some (a) privacy and (b) modicum of security.

Just not while I'm in my pjs.

Things I have to do today:
  • bank large cheque
  • deal with uni because they are morons*
  • return some purchases to KMart
  • go to BigW to see if they have better alternatives than the ones I didn't get from KMart
  • do an assignment
  • buy nail scissors seeing as my Favourite Pair have gone missing
  • bug Adelaide University for my payment summary
  • go to gym
Right now I'm going to make oatmeal, the breakfast of champions, and wake TheHusband.

* I went into uni on Thursday. This is a pain in the backside but I went in to ask whether I could get excemption from the two assignments and one workshop I did last year and shoudn't have to do again this year (which I got). In the meantime I asked the enrolments manager to check why my enrolment was dicky. She couldn't see why so said "Unenrol and reenrol and it'll all be fixed". So I did step (1) of that when I got home and then discovered that I can't reenrol as it's after 07/08/09. So I have to get the uni to FIX this when it could have just been DONE on Friday when I was AT UNI. Which I DON'T DO VERY OFTEN as I'm an external student.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

General updates are generally dull

So here are 5 things I want to say:
  1. TheHusband deserves a medal for weeding a lot of the garden yesterday and now it looks slightly less than feral and a bit more like it could grow some things. The orange tree needs to be planted as it's thinking about fruiting.
  2. I had dreams last night about making stewed apricots. What is with dreaming about food?
  3. It is 27C here today. In August. It is freaking GORGEOUS out here on our back patio with the sunshine and a light breeze. This of course means it will be back to winter for the next 3 weeks as punishment but for now I'm enjoying the Spring out here.
  4. I put on my big girl pants the other day and went to the university and chased down a lecturer and got her to sign off on me having an exemption from the two assignments and one workshop that I did last year, so while I have to repeat this subject I don't have to actually repeat it all.
  5. I managed to get a formal dress for a formal dinner this coming Friday night, from a real bridal store (it was weird being in there having never done the Bride-y thing at all!) and it cost me $49 instead of $400. It's gorgeous too. And strapless. And red, just for something different.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why I'm not a good candidate for a hospital birth...

Stolen from Gloria Lemay:

I'll tick the ones that I am not. See how I go :).

Must not be scared of needles.

Must not be claustrophobic or uncomfortable in confined spaces.

Must be able to go for long periods of time without eating or drinking.

Must be happy to share a bathroom with others.

Must enjoy sleeping on a mattress covered with plastic.

Must not have a rebellious or questioning nature.

Must accept the possibility of contracting antibiotic-resistant infections.

Must be confident with caregivers who are overtired and overworked.

Must realize that a limited amount of time can be spent in a hospital room before it is needed for the next patient.

Must like and trust electronic equipment.

Must be comfortable with cesarean rate of 30%.

Must accept that the mood of the nurse on duty will be a large determinant of the birth outcome.

Must realize that someone you have never met before will likely receive your baby.

Must realize that the written birth plan will be ignored.

Must be willing to have fluorescent lights turned on at all hours.

Must be capable of birthing without making loud noises.

Must look good in a flimsy blue gown that is open up the back.

Must be willing to be a teaching subject for student doctors who are learning to do pelvic exams, surgeries, and suturing.


Not so well - I am happy to let students learn, which is a bit odd that that's the only one I didn't tick apart from being scared of needles. I heart Gloria btw and have had the pleasure of meeting her!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So what do I do with it?

I have an international cheque for about $30 AUD. If I bank it, I lose $10 so I don't want to bank it with my usual institution - but have no idea how else to get the $$. Suggestions?

Also - said banking institution now has (a) monthly fees $5/month (b) debit visa fee $2/month (c) bpay fee $0.50/each and (d) transfer fee $0.25/each, and I want to move away from this. I don't mind paying one fee but I feel completely SCREWED as a student to be wearing a LOT of fees.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My house smells like patties

I made one of my favourite inventions/recipes. I made this up shortly after I left home at the age of 16, and needed something easy and cheap to eat that wasn't takeaway. So here it is:

Take one bag of instant potato. Or 4 cups of mashed potato if you've got it. But I rarely do so I have been known to use any kind of brand of instant potato. Sue me for being trashy - it's the only time I've ever used it. Make it up with a little less than usual liquid as you need it to be stiff.

Take a 250g packet of frozen spinach and cook it as instructed. Don't squeeze the extra out but it shouldn't be Wet.

Take 1/2 an onion and brown it up in a bit of oil in a frying pan.

Drain a small ish tin of tuna.

Mix all of this in a bowl. Add a good handful of grated cheese, some salt and pepper, and an egg.

Pat together into little patties and in an ideal world, leave in the fridge for 1/2 hour minimum. If you're in my house and you want to eat them NOW, heat the same frying pan with a smidge of oil in it, and pan fry gently until crispy. I find you don't need to put flour or breadcrumbs on this, to keep them together or to get them to crisp up. You can pat them in something if you want - breadcrumbs with chili flakes, or parmasen cheese.

Eat. Eat cold. Put it on a roll or in a salad.

These are gluten free as made if you get gf potato or make it yourself obviously. You can make them without cheese and/or egg but reduce the water content when making the potato. You may need to rest them to do that as the egg and the cheese both bind the mixture.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Easy pasta sauce

Take 500g of frozen mince and put it in a heavy cast iron pot that you've got a lid for. Add a jar of pasata, a tin of tomatoes, a tin of chickpeas, a tin of kidney beans and a sliced onion. Add a tablespoon of stock powder. Add about 1 can extra liquid - water and red wine in this case. Put the lid on and put it on a low heat for an hour. Squash the mince with a potato masher, not minding if you get some of the peas and beans. Adjust seasoning. Let sit overnight for best flavour.


Yes I'm a lazy cook. I'm trying to do my tax and TheHusband's as well and it's not easy to concentrate when I need to also cook food for us. I have coconut rice in the oven as well: 1C brown rice, 1 tin coconut cream, 1/2 tin boiling water, 1T vanilla sugar. Bake for 90 mins on 200C. Adjust so that it is creamy and sweet enough and yummy and eat.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I've been everywhere man...

I've been away for the last two weeks. I went from Adelaide to Hobart, then to Melbourne, Bendigo, back to Melbourne and back to Adelaide. During that time I decided that I hate Tiger Airways and will never fly with them again, I sang in 2 concerts, got notSwineFlu, spent several days in bed, went to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Festival, did some shopping and generally relaxed.

Now that I'm back here in Adelaide I'm glad I have an extra week before going back to school next week. I have another year and a half to go at school though. At least I have placement to look forward to, and can now once again follow women through their pregnancies and births, right? Well, I don't know. It means going back into the hospital system, which I detest. It also means a lot of on call for no/little reward, and having to pimp myself out to people to pick them up.

Placement details:

Start Date: 14/09/2009
End Date: 20/09/2009
Area: Antepartum
Allocated Site: Lyell: Outpatients Department - Antenatal
** Cushy placement as it's during the day only, and the Lyell is a shortish drive from here, with the chance of parking.

Start Date: 21/09/2009
End Date: 4/10/2009
Area: Postpartum
Allocated Site: North Eastern Community: Maternity
** Cushy placement as it's close by as well, parking is available, and I've been there before! Plus they don't like having students on overnight, and I've been offered a position there. It's a private/community hospital with obstetrician-led care but eh, in the maternity ward it's mostly postnatal care anyway.

Start Date: 19/10/2009
End Date: 8/11/2009
Allocated Site: Lyell: BAUL (Birthing & Assessment Unit Low Risk)
** Potentially awesome placement because it is back at the Lyell, and the low risk birthing and assessment unit is the place for lots of births, which is what I need at the moment. The downside is though that I will be required to do nightshift.

I now have a long list of things to deal with before school starts though:
  • do tax return (yay! Am I the only person in the world who loves doing this?)
  • write to the House of Bun with new availability
  • unpack the last of the stuff from my trip
  • download photos
  • find and update my portfolio
  • organise an Easterfest meeting
  • harrass gym
  • start a blanket

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Collaborative workings...

From Midwifery Times' E-News 11: 13

OSU Study Reveals Conflict between Doctors, Midwives over Homebirth

CORVALLIS, Ore. Two Oregon State University researchers have uncovered a pattern of distrust—and sometimes outright antagonism—among physicians at hospitals and midwives who are transporting their homebirth clients to the hospital because of complications.


The findings revealed that assisted homebirths did not appear to be contributing to the lower-than-average health outcomes and, in fact, that the homebirths documented all had successful outcomes. But even more importantly to Cheyney, discussions with doctors and midwives uncovered a deep mistrust between the two groups of birthing providers, with doctors expressing the firm belief that only hospital births are safe, while midwives felt marginalized, mocked and put on the defensive when in contact with physicians.


Cheyney, who is a practicing midwife in addition to being an assistant professor of medical anthropology and reproductive biology, said she was surprised that physicians, when presented with scientifically conducted research that indicates homebirths do not increase infant mortality rates, still refuse to believe that births outside of the hospital are safe.

"Medicine is a social construct, and it's heavily politicized," she said.


"I do get some pushback from physician friends who say that I'm too open and too supportive," he said. "My answer, to quote (President) Obama, is that dialogue is always a good idea."

Qualtere-Burcher said he believes that if midwives felt more comfortable contacting physicians with medical questions or concerns, there would be a greater chance that women would get medical help when they needed it.

"Treat (midwives) with respect, as colleagues, and they'll not be afraid to call," he said.

While Qualtere-Burcher believes it would be wonderful, but Utopian, for all midwives to agree to seek medical assistance under the guidelines they're proposing, and for all physicians to learn to deal more collegially with midwives, he hopes that if a small group on each side agrees to the plan, it will provide more evidence that a stronger relationship between physicians and midwives will lead to better outcomes for mothers and infants.

Last year the American Medical Association passed Resolution 205, which states: "the safest setting for labor, delivery and the immediate post-partum period is in the hospital, or a birthing center within a hospital complex" The resolution was passed in direct response to media attention on home births, the AMA stated.

What is interesting, Cheyney points out, is that 99 percent of American births occur in the hospital, but the United States has one of the highest infant mortality rates of any developed country, with 6.3 deaths per 1,000 babies born. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, where a third of deliveries occur in the home with the assistance of midwives, has a lower rate of 4.73 deaths per 1,000.


Meanwhile, the patient, whose intention was not to have a hospital birth, is already feeling upset at the change in birth plan, and is now watching her care provider come into conflict with the stranger who is about to deliver her baby.

Wantage and todoage

I am big enough to work out the difference between "need" and "want" so here is a list of things I want (and won't go out of my way to buy but keep coming back to wanting):
  • Knitpicks interchangeable needles - I have some Denises but I dislike them as the plastic flexes when you use them
  • Jigsaw so I can cut things up - I have a heap of mdf that I want to make things out of.
  • Steam mop for the floor of doom (big house = lots of floors).
  • SLR camera
  • cutting board for sewing
  • overlocker
  • body form
  • this pattern:

Things to do around the house:
  • Decorate the purple table some more. I'm working with Eve to develop some decals for the table and it is so exciting!
  • Make some new curtains for the back area.
    The walls are painted in Pantaloon which is a yellow based paint and the curtains are a revolting gold colour and they clash and they are BORING so I want to update
  • Make some foot pooffs for the placing of feet on. Chez Larsson has inspired me to change some of our milk crates into foot stools.
  • Tie backs for the curtains in the kitchen. This will involve improving my crocheting skills though.

  • Sort out superannuation
  • Harrass the gym to refund my personal trainer $$
  • Go to Hobart, Melbourne and Bendigo!!!! Which is where I am at the moment btw...
  • Organise the spare room for our housesitter
  • Paint the chest of drawers that currently hold my stash
  • Finish Sabrina
  • Paint the little chest of drawers that holds our IT stuff
  • Paint the mdf bookcase that I've had for since 19mumblemumble - I'm thinking white

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just another variation on the cycle of life

For the cycle of being-doing is also the cycle of remembering-forgetting. Like Persephone in the myth of Demeter and Persephone, you blossom, you die, you are reborn again and again. You contact the knowledge of who you are and what you need, and then slowly, bib by bit, you forget, eaten up by life again. Then you descend and reconnect with yourself. You come back from a week's retreat full of love for yourself, your life and your relationships, and for a few weeks you meditate every morning, you eat well, you take a few hours once a month to be alone, do yoga, and write in your journal. But then you forget, get lost, lose consciousness. That does not make retreating worthless, nor does it mean you have failed. It is an organic spiralling process, and each time you retreat you retain another piece of knowledge, courage and purpose, slowly honing your life into what you want. It literally takes a lifetime. It is the process of life.

From Jennifer Louden's The Woman's Retreat Book

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Table conversion - "before" and "during"

I took this table:

Applied this:

And painted on some of this:

More photos later as it's not quite finished!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

You're doing it wrong bitches

Ok so if I sign up for something that requires me to attend the gym every week for 12 weeks if I want a refund on my fee (incentives, I has them), and afterwards I find out that to get a refund I have to put my name on a list and get contacted for it to be processed (and I do that), and you DON'T CONTACT ME for a month, I'm going to be PISSED when I turn up to the gym and get told:
  1. there has been a note on the system since the end of May stating that I needed to provide them a copy of my receipt;
  2. that I should have contacted them to follow-up despite them not having a direct number for me to contact;
  3. that there is no record of me signing up for the program;
  4. and that it was entirely ridiculous that I was annoyed, given that MidwifeA managed to have hers sorted out a week after filling in the SAME FORM
given that the woman that was talking to me didn't at any point say "wow I'm really sorry - can I check we have the right number for you?".

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Meme about me

I've been tagged by noone but what the heck - I'll tag myself.

The rules:
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people (if you feel so inclined).

So here goes:

What is your current obsession?
Hair clips, and stalking various yarns that I want to knit with my copious spare time this year. And a few other things that I try not to obsess about but I guess I am obsessing still.

What is your weirdest obsession?
What, apart from being obsessed with all things women's health / birth / babies and yet not being obsessed with my own procreation? And saying loudly that I love women and think they're gorgeous in an amazingly functional way?

What are you wearing today?
Orange bra, wonderwoman underwear, yellow and orange striped socks, mary jane shoes, white 3/4 shirt and a grey overdress. It looks good, really.

What’s for dinner?
Penang diner tonight - I'm in the mood for massamum beef. Which is nothing like the yum that I could get at my local Thai place in Sydney (am I the only person

What did you eat for your last meal?
Two crumpets - one with Vegemite and the other with golden syrup, and a cup of Lady Grey tea.

What’s the last thing you bought?
Um - two handles from Bunnings to redo my childhood chest of drawers.

What are you listening to right now?
A report on a train crash in Washington. Go NewsRadio.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
Somewhere warm - Bundaberg, just to visit with my grandparents.

Which language do you want to learn?
French! Immersion style please.

What do you love most about where you currently live?
That's hard - so many things. I live with the love of my life and my kitty and a very close friend who's almost like a sister to me. The house is amazing. It's in a great location. I'm 15 minutes from Kate's place ;).

What is your favorite colour?
At the moment that's a hard one. I've got a purple thing going on, but also loving on teal/sapphire coloured things.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
At the moment, my Rogue sweater. In general, probably my purple coat given that it's winter here at the moment.

What were you doing ten years ago?
Hmmm 1999 - I was halfway through my third year at uni, living in the southern 'burbs of Adelaide, driving a 1983 Mistubishi Colt and working at Hungry Jacks.

Describe your personal style?
Preppy, or unique - lots of colour, lots of unique accessories, lots of handknits. But often a pair of jeans and a tshirt.

If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
Knitpicks Interchangeable needles.

What are you going to do after this?
Go to the gym for a session of aqua-aerobics, then to Target to buy a new pair of shoes as mine are dead.

What are your favourite films?
Love Actually

What inspires you?
Colour and movement

Your favourite books?
Isobelle Carmody's series

Do you collect anything?
Hair clips, tea cups...

What makes you follow a blog?
The writing, how regularly it is updated, whether the topics are mostly things that I am interested in.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did today?
Slept in

What new skill would you like to learn?
There aren't any that come to mind - there are a few things that I'd like to improve though. Preserving, painting, decorating, sewing for example.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Recent FOs

I'm knitting a square shawl, have just finished Sabrina, and finished a triangle shawl the other day as well (it's a triangle, just badly blocked).

The square shawl is being knit out of this, which Zaria found fascinating before it was wound into two balls:

And I FINALLY finished my Rogue:

Isn't it gorgeous?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday fill in #2

1. She had a great idea to make pikelets for brunch.

2. My arm is by my side, always.

3. I know this: my time will come and I probably won't even notice it.

4. I have some of the best years of my life to come still.

5. These words apply to me: suck it up, princess

6. Today I am happy because the sun was shining.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to cocktails and a surprise, tomorrow my plans include breakfast with a Kate and Sunday, I want to be at the airport early for our trip to Hobart!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Evil plan for world domination (well, Wednesday domination anyway)

Today is my Day Off - the one that I get this week. So I am still in my pjs and it's after midday. We will ignore that I was awake at 6am and took my houseguest to the hospital for her early shift this morning and TheHusband to work, and then crawled back into bed with a migraine that felt like a coach screw was being thrust through my right eye and *that* is why I still feel like poo in the bottom of a rubbish bin.


So the plan for today:
  • go to an antenatal visit (last one I attended was at 16 weeks, and she's now 35. Not my fault in this case! I can make changes to my plans for work if I know 4 weeks in advance, but as the midwife involved keeps changing the appt times at really short notice, and as I can't do that for work, I have missed a lot of them. Which makes me sad. Add to that that I've had the Hacking Worst Cold Evah (tm) and it's little cousin Awwww Do I Have To Have Another One (tm) in quick succession and there is the reason for it being months between visits)
  • go to Target and get new shoes ($6.36 in Coles Myer voucher, $30 in Westfield voucher - I can probably find something for that, and my last pair of everyday shoes has just decided to leak)
  • get my eyebrows waxed
  • put the washing away
  • put a load of washing on in preparation for...
  • packing! for our trip! to Hobart! in just 4 sleeps!
  • print out save the date cards for Easter2010

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mondayitis hits with a vengeance

Even though it's Tuesday. I want to crawl under a rock and not come out. I miss my friends and am inexplicably hurt that they are feeling the same way as me and don't want to catch up even though they're on holidays. Whinge whinge whinge - Winter can bite my fat hairy legs.

You want to know the definition of torture? That'd be me offering to redo the books that contain some of the products at The House of Bun that don't have a barcode. There's a couple of thousand of them, and we have a folder of them at each register. The ones we have are very out of date and are falling to pieces. So I am checking them. Line by line. And making sure we still carry them. And that the codes are still relevant (ie is it barcoded now? Take it out). And retyping most of them into one document.

Because the previous documents are badly formatted.

In Comic Sans.

Which I can't abide.

Now I'm off to choir rehearsal. I sing in a choir that surely takes an award for being the most confusing and convoluted and intricate evah. It's exhausting but it's either that or I'm going to sit at home alone in my big empty cold house, and be miserable.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday fill in #1

Oh look another bandwagon for me to jump on.

1. All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting .

2. Show me a good loser and I will show you a simple mind.

3. Torture is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs at one time. Only I dislike chocolate, so I'm happy to share with you if you'd like them.

4. Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy knitting and blogging.

5. I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine stripes and spots.

6. It is impossible to think of any good meal, no matter how plain or elegant, without onion or garlic in it.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to having Sunday off and having a houseguest for 3 weeks, tomorrow my plans include work and Sunday, I want to knit!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A petition

I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition that I recently signed "Save Private Midwifery and homebirth choices".

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of your time.



Why is this so important? I can hear you thinking that
  • you've had your babies so this doesn't affect you
  • or alternately, babies aren't for you
  • people who birth out of hospitals are nuts
  • midwives who work in the community are hippies
  • why on earth would you not want to birth in a hospital?
  • obstetricians are the best
  • there are perfectly free options available
  • why would you want to pay $3k+ for something that you can get through private health insurance?
  • why would you want pain during birth when you can go to hospital and have it "painfree"
  • who cares about women's choices when my sister/next door neighbour/best friend would have died if she'd birthed at home?
I'm not here to debate this with you, except to say that I have different views on all of these things from the mainstream and so do other women, and just as you don't have to agree with abortion, or homosexuality, or voting Liberal, or putting sugar in your coffee, or driving to work rather than catching a bus - you would probably fight tooth and nail for the RIGHT of other people to do these things.

What I am here to say is that women have the right to a birth with an educated attendant. The recent proposed changes to the legislation regarding midwives goes like this:
  • there will be a register of midwives (which is actually a HUGE deal as it is the FIRST TIME EVAH that midwives will NOT be classed as nurses!!! Yay!!! Now take another 20 years to get over people assuming that I'm a nurse)
  • it will be a national register, rather than a state-based one
  • to be on the register, I will need to show that I have insurance that indemnifies my practice
Why is this insane?
  1. How do you propose that I register when I finish my degree? If by registering I am saying that I have insurance, then how do I get a job that requires me to be registered or be eligible to be registered in order to apply? It's a chicken-and-egg problem - I need a job to show that I have insurance, but I'd need the job and insurance to get registered. This is not the situation at the moment. And makes it insane if I chose to do something like an Honours year, or take a year off.
  2. How do you propose that I register if *gasp* I don't WORK as a midwife, for an employer? What if I'm also a nurse and I'm working in sexual health or an abortion clinic, as a NURSE, and there is no way in hell my employer indemnifies me to practice as a midwife? Even though I am staying in touch with my midwifery skills through my job (there is a gap between the absolute letter of a position's description and the reality), I am not able to register as a midwife.
  3. Alternately - what if I don't work for an employer? What if I am an independent practitioner? I am unable to get insurance, through no fault of my own, as there is no insurance option available. Ergo I won't be able to register, or work as a midwife as it's a controlled term and without registration I can't call myself a Midwife.
  4. The insurance will not cover out of hospital services.
What does this mean?
  • That I am wasting my time studying for a degree that I won't be able to use because I do not want to get a job just to register. I will get a job in a hospital to pay the bills, and I am realistic about the speed at which I'll be able to build a practice, but I don't want to have to get a job just to register to practice.
  • It, if possible, get worse. Let's say we were trying to make OS#1 (offspring #1) right now. That'd be a due date of March 2010. If it's next month (July) that'd be April 2010, August (May 2010) and September (June 2010). No problems. Lots of registered midwives for me to choose from. If we waited until October 2009 though - bam July 2010. I am left with the option of choosing a hospital birth, or going it alone at home. Yes - going it alone. Because I won't be able to employ a midwife to do that. That would risk a $30,000 fine for me, and one for her for good measure. I kid you not - it would be enticing a professional to work outside the scope of her practice. Which also means that I will not be able to practice in a homebirth setting. It will essentially be ILLEGAL for me to do so. And for you or I, or your sister, housemate, best friend, daughter etc to do so.
I can think of no other situation where something that has been shown to be as safe, or safer, than the mainstream option, is going to be illegal in a sneaky way. Or alternately where the way I choose to practice will be restricted.

I understand that many obstetricians and doctors would love nothing better than to have midwives return to being glorified obstetric nurses and not jump or squeak without their permission. I get that homebirth scares the crap out of women who are told that birthing in hospital is safe, easy and guaranteed not to leave you with a dead baby or lifelong issues (bwahahahahahaha - excuse my while I laugh at the ridiculousness of that idea). I appreciate that birth is scary and unknown and complicated sometimes but for the most part, it is a normal life process and the experts in this process are the midwives.

What made me so upset last night that I swore at the acting president of our national body, and cried in a meeting, is that the people in charge just. don't. GET. it. My future dreams are being offered up as the sacrificial temple virgin so that the other great things can go through. Because it affects so few women (and the VAST majority of midwives are women, though not 100% of them) then it is seen to be OK to give something up in the negotiations that are happening. To be told that something has to give, and in this case it is homebirth, and that I should consider the glass half full rather than half empty, makes me despair at the future I face. The people who are "negotiating" this are at the end of their careers and are doing work in the political upper eschelons because they are experienced and amazing - but they also need a smack up the side of the head for even being party to this process.

Where are the industry-wide protests? Where are the rolling strikes? Where are the midwives demanding freedom to practice, regardless of whether they agree with the practice or not? I'll tell you where they are - they are secretly glad that something like this will stop the "craziness" that they consider happens when a midwife walks with a woman who doesn't fit a low risk model of care - someone with twins, or a breech baby, or a medical condition, or obstetric history, or something other than being 22 years old, in perfect health and with a pelvis like a bucket.

My options are now looking like being to go overseas to practice how I want to. I've had one offer from Washington, and one from Waikato - any further?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today Nicola Roxon introduced two Bills to Parliament.

1) Health legislation amendment (midwife and nurse practitioner) Bill 2009
This Bill is about accessing Medicare and PBS, there is nothing currently written in this Bill that discuses eligibility - there is no comment within it at present that states anything about homebirth. However, in her speech today she openly stated that there will be no MBS for Homebirth.

2) (and this is the clincher) Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth contribution scheme) Bill 2009
This Bill excludes midwives from providing intrapartum homebirth care.


C.F. the Homebirth Australia’s media release and a poster for the Sept 7th rally in Canberra– we know of 100s of women who will be attending from all over the country – we need 1000s so print it out, pass it on and email it around! You can register your attendance on our facebook page

Australia is going to be the laughing stock of the Western world – what a tragedy! Our new website will be going live by tomorrow morning (I hope) – for regular updates go to


Jo Hunter
National Convenor
Homebirth Australia

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On blankets and crocheting

When I was little, my maternal grandmother (I think) crocheted me a blanket. From memory, it was purple and dark blue and pale pink and cream, in hexagons. It was probably a single bed blanket but when I was an early teenager, it came apart and was never fixed. Which is odd, as my mother is a consumate seamstress and could probably have managed to fix it.

Oh wait - there's a link there perhaps? Oh that's just great. I go and blog about something innocent like a blanket and instead I end up dwelling on a freaking blanket and the nonrelationship I have with my mother. Yay.

ANYWAYS, the blanket has been on my mind recently. I want it as I remember it from my childhood. I want to look at how it's made and crochet some more. Well, any. I can crochet a chain (badly) and have only just bought a crochet hook. I can't read a pattern yet. So I'd like to. Do more crocheting. And get the blanket back. But how to get it back from my mother? My options are to go there myself (not going to happen c.f. snowflakes and hell) or ask her for it. But if I ask her for it, she can put conditions on giving it to me, or not give it to me and leave me in the same position but also grieving all over again for our relationship, *as* well as the loss of a blanket. Which in my mind is gorgeous and cuddly and wool and pretty and I'm hoping that it is something even half as nice.

So I sent her a relatively easy message via Bookface / Stalkbook and asked her for it to be posted. She sent me back a pointless message saying way more than she needed to, all about her of course, with essentially a "yes" response. When it turns up, I'll post pics and explain how I fix it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The garden that I built

Isn't it pretty? A few weeks ago I went along to a local childcare cente and built some garden beds. These are two sleepers high and I had SO much fun setting them up, screwing them together (I got to use POWERTOOLS people!) and then banging nail plates on, filling with soil and cow poo, installing irrigition and planting with small children. It was surprisingly easy to build but it took all day to sort out the rest of the renovation and build two of these... So if you have some space go to your local Bunnings store and get them to cut some sleepers for you, then get some help with picking some 90degree angles and various bits and pieces and build! Plant! Grow! Eat. Have a look at more photos here as well.

It did get me thinking though - that I am comfortable with powertools and getting grotty and building things. I love it. I have fond memories of childhood painting days with my dad Ray and building things with him, and I am the proud owner of a power drill, hot glue gun and staple gun and I'm not afraid to use them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Yay for parties!

Last night was our housewarming and it was fun. It started at 8pm and as you can see from the last photo here, it was a late night. I went to bed on the way to 3am to be honest and I was FREEZING and needed a LOT of time to warm up.

One thing I did do (while drunk none the less) was to cut Sarah's hair. You can get an idea of the before and after lengths of the hair - in the end it looked a lot like Lucy out of the recent Narnia movies. Apparently, anyway, as I piked shortly after doing the first cut bec

The back of my hair is great and I did that myself. I bought scissors recently and had a ball with them. I like my hair red too.