Tuesday, 11 September 2007

All Packed Up

If Unschooling has taught me anything, its that there are thousands of uses for Food Dye (not including in food, which is not a legitimate use)

Use for food dye # 3,781:
Face Paint.

Today has been a big day.

We packed up our whole house to go to the rainbow gatheirng. Still not 100% done, but we still need to sleep the night here.

Everything needs to be really properly packed up, coz while we're away the new owner of the property wants to have some tradesmen come in and do some work on the place. That should be nice. But it meant we had to pack very thoroughly.

Its been an enormous mission, I started yesterday with a nasty leech bite on my toe, and I get a horrible allergic reaction to them. It kept me up all night, itching and burning like crazy; my toe is all swollen, feels like someone is holding a match under it. In the middle of the night I thought I was going insane with it, so I got up and put ice on it.

Only we dont have ice; no ice cube trays. We have got popsicles, so I took a popsicle from the freezer and sat with that between my toes for a while at 4am. That helped a bit, but sill, I didn't sleep much.

So I was SUPER tired this morning. Foolishly, I decided to drink a coffee (something I almost never do, but I really needed to wake up and otherwise I would have been useless till at least midday). Only then I was buzzing on coffee.

And the leech bite was itching and burning me sooooo bad I was on the verge of freaking out. So I caved and took an antihistamine. Only that made me really drowsy and dopey. I found myself feeling sleepy and dizzy, but still needing to pack, so I took a guarana (herbal stimulant) capsule.
I still felt dopey, but buzzing. It was like being drunk all day. Somehow, through the haze, I managed to help get just about everything packed and organised and clean.

It all just reminds me of birthing in a hosptal; one intervention leads to another and it all snowballs... But I've learned my lesson. Anyway, we packed, without too much shouting. So we'll be away at the rainbow gathering for 5 or 6 weeks. I might not post too much in that time, but I'll try :)

Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

One of the tipi poles split, so Purple went to cut a new one... he came back after a littel while spouting blood from his face, with a greasy rag from the car pressed to his cheek. The bamboo had fallen on him and given him a nasty cut.

He insisted that I drive him to the hospital to get stitches. The hospital is a small one, we were the only people in the three bed ER, and the nurse had to phone the doctor to come in. He ambled in after about ten minutes, in t-shirt and jeans, and decided to put special tape and glue onto it rather than stitches, in an attempt to reduce the scarring. Funnily, the glue was the exact same shade of purple as his shirt!

A lovely drama to start the day, and poor Purple can't smile now.

In the evening we went to a party at Jessica's, only it was a 'child-free' party, and no one told us. So we turned up with Littletree, expecting there to be loads of kids, but every one else had left their little ones with baby sitters. Oh well. She went to sleep in the downstairs bedroom after an hour anyway.

We all drank lots of Frangelico (Jessica's tiddle of choice) and danced by the fire. I chatted with a cute woman called Button, and even got her phone number :) Purple chatted with lots of people.

One nice surprise was that Mel was there - we haven't seen her since Turkey, about two years ago... She was looking fantastic in an Anne of Green Gables dress, though missing a finger after being attacked by a dog!!!

Since we were both drinking, we decided to sleep in Sunshine, which was nice, and we all had coffee with Frangelico and cream for breakfast. It was yummy, but made me feel kind of sick after. Then I was buzzing on caffeine, and running around the house playing hide-and-seek with Littletree and practicing Capoeira with myself.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Adventures in Parking Tickets

ok, get this.
I bought our car on 18th May this year.

I got in the mail a parking ticket incurred on my car on 13 march this year, in Sydney. Clearly 2 months before I bought the car. I wasn't even in the country then.

So, the fine comes with a form you can fill out to say that you weren't responsible for the car at that time. I filled in the form (and its not just any old form, its a statutory decleration that has to be witnessed by some kind of professional) and send it back to them.

Should be the end of the story, right? Then they sent me a repeat notice, saying that the woman I nominated as the previous owner was never the owner of the car. WTF!??
I have right in front of me the transfer form proving that I bought the car from her on 18th May. So I call the debt Recovery office.

At first (after 15 minutes on hold) the woman said that I am not registered as the car's owner at all. I hassled the woman on the phone some more... eventually, after lots of screwing around, she tells me she found my record in the system, and I have been the registered owner of the car since October 1994. (I was 15 years old then!)

I hassled her some more and she says she'll get someone to call me back. Great.
So, some girl (Krystal with a K) calls me back. Krystal confirmed that I have been the owner of the car since 1994. The only thing I can do is contact the state auto registry (VIC Roads) and get them to fax through some proof that I was not the owner of the car. Apparently, the "vehicle transfer form" that I have showing that I bought the car on 18th May, and the transfer form showing the date the woman I bought the car from bought the car, and the name of the guy she bought it from last year, don't count.

So I called the Victorian auto registry office. Listening to their hold muzak, and a little recorded voice that tells me I'll be on hold for at least 20 minutes, I mused on the deeper meanings of life, and the fact that the call was costing me on a per/minute basis: I see their scam; it's gonna end up being easier to have just paid the fine in the first place

Alright. I finally got through to the registry office...only 18 mins on hold (yay?). The woman there was very helpful, and assured me that I did indeed buy the car on 18th May (thank goodness for that!). The only thing I can do is go into their office, and request a form, which would essentially be the same as the form I already have, and will cost me $7.50. then I'd have to fax it to the debt office.

The big problem is that I am in another state right now and the nearest office is a good 12 hour drive away. Not to mention the fact that I already have this form, and the debt office said its no good. My other option it seems, is to send a fax with all the relevant papers to some other office, and ask them to fax me back the paper showing the date I bought the car, which I can then fax to the debt office, and hope it works. Okay, but I dont have a fax machine, faxing from the post office is horribly expensive and I still cant recieve a fax.

Meanwhile, I've been informed that the fine is still standing, and still in my name, and if not payed by 18th Septemer, court action will be taken. Did I mention that we are going away to the Rainbow Gathering on Tuesday and wont be back for 5 weeks!? Somebody kill me now.

In desperation, I called the Debt Recovery Office again, just to see if speaking to someone different would help.

Only 9 minutes on hold this time, and the woman was most helpful. She seemed to be understanding of my predicament (though no doubt she works full time at listening to people trying to explain their way out of parking tickets). She looked through everything, confirmed that I did indeed buy the car in 1994. I explained my situation again, stressing that I had all the documentation showing when I'd bought the car, and it wasn't my fault the diferent state departments cant get their computer system sorted.

She said, what I will need to do is a long and involved process of getting all the paperwork to prove that I wasn't the owner of the car. Then she heard Littletree singing "Twinkle Twinkle" in the background, and commented on the beautiful singing. :D

Suddenly, a new option presented itself! See, the Debt Recovery office, in their infinite wisdom, sent me back a copy of the original Statutory Decleration form I'd sent to them, stating that I was not the owner of the car at the time. This woman kindly informed me that if I just cross out where I'd written "At the time of the offence I was not the vehicle owner" and change it to "At the time of the offence, another person was responsible" and inital the correction, I can send it back to them and all will be sorted out.

Well, here goes nothing!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

My Little Aggravator

I was just lying with Littletree for a cuddle, and said to her:
"I'm so happy you chose me to be your mama."
She replied:
"I'm so happy you chose me to be your aggravator"


I have been hard at work dealing with our online photo albums... thus far, we've been happily at Yahoo!, which is annoying for not retaining full-size pics, or the functionality of many sites, but, the wonderful thing is that its not an online "community" of people who do searches and view photos of strangers and comment on them.
Which means that I cant post any pics with nudity.
I had this issue with many photo websites; they delete all my birth photos, because of the nudity. even nude baby photos. and being a Midwife, I have a lot of birth photos, many of them I want to store in online albums. I want these albums to be public, but I dont want them to be on public searches. I like that I can just post a link to my albums, and my friends can find them no worries. So Yahoo! works for me.

The bastards at Yahoo! have decided to merge with Flickr and close down the Yahoo!Photos. GRRR. So, all my online pics got transferred over to Flickr. see the pretty new gadget I have in my sidebar... You can go to my photos page, feel free to browse. there's more than 1,700 photos there, most of which are of Littletree being cute. They used to be (mostly) in some sort of order, but now... well, the albums are organised into sets. I went through all the pics with nudity (mostly birth pics) and made them private, so if you want to see those ones, you need to join Flickr and become my friend. At some point I might find some way of inviting people or something... but not today.

Anyway, I posted this nice pic of Littletree, being gorgeous, just because its a really cute photo. Though its from almost a year ago; before she had dreadlocks. (oh those gorgeous ginger curls!)

Monday, 3 September 2007

Floods and a Poisonous Toad

For those who remember our flooded-in scouting adventure, I took a pic of the bridge now that the waters are down. Here's a nice before and after...

Its a bit of a trip to see it now...

Also in the news, Littletree found her first Cane Toad, and spent a good long while sitting on the back steps with a torch, watching it watching her.

Then, of course, we got onto our favourite friend, wikipedia, and read about it.

Tomorrow I'm going into town to meet with nic' and go to the Santos warehouse to make a big order of bulk foods for the gathering. Apparently they are donating us some big sack of rice and some other stuff.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Rainbow Seed Camp Mission

This weekend we went out to the Rainbow site to start setting up the seed camp.

After a mammoth packing adventure, (how much stuff can one family need for three days??) We set off on the 3 hour drive.

When we got there, we started by putting up signs and markers on the road, so family can find the way...

We drove in on the entrance road, which is actually a 4WD track... but Sunshine made it! Man, that van is the best car ever! First she managed to tackle Puzzle Road, now she's slogged through the mud and bumps of a recently-washed-out four wheel drive track!

Once we managed to get into the site, we had a walk around, set up a Welcome Centre / Seed Camp kitchen, complete with a wood pile, shit pit with signs, and a beautiful spot next to the river. Though I imagine if we get serious heavy rains again the spot should be evacuated...

Hanging around near the Welcome Centre, we also saw a Red Bellied Black Snake, which are poisonous, but not aggressive unless provoked. So we just stared at each other for a while and moved on. But it was a nice reminder to walk gently on the earth, and maintain awareness.

Not too far past the Welcome Centre, we came across the most amazing natural amphitheatre. A perfectly flat semicircle of ground, ringed by a steep slope that could easily seat several hundred people :) Performance stage ready-to-go!

A little ways after that we came upon a nice open meadow, a good size for Main Circle near the river. After walking the site and not seeing any better Main Circle option, we painted a little sign and left it at that.

But the clincher was right next to the main circle; a little rivulet of sweet fresh water running down from the mountain!

It tasted great, and the stream came off a hill that looks high enough for a good gravity feed system, and providing several potential spots for main kitchen along its banks, not too far from main circle :D


We went on walking till the track ended in the river. Actually, there is a ford, and the track continues on the other side, but its not an easy crossing; freezing cold water (which I was happy to immerse myself in for a minute, but Purple and Littletree wouldn't even go deeper than their ankles, it was so cold), and it was about 50 metres to cross.

In this picture, the point that looks like the other side is in fact only half-way... its just little islets in the middle. No doubt some intrepid folk will camp on the other side, but we suspect that the majority of the gathering will be before the ford. Also possible there's some more interesting spots further upstream on the same side of the river, but finding that will be the privilege of someone who isn't walking with a 4-year-old ;)

Anyway, here's some more beautiful scenes of the site for those with pixel fixations...