Thursday, 31 January 2008

The April Resolution.

A few months ago, I was stuck in the dilemma of what to do in April.
It seemed the problem was sorted out when my potential birth client decided to live in Melbourne, and I was asked to midwife for an old friend of mine, at the birth of her Twins!
So, yeah, duh. Attending the birth of twins is way higher on my priorities than a rainbow gathering or going to Israel, which I'll do anyway, just later.

The plan was set; Going to stay in Wollongong (just south of Sydney, about 1000km from home) for a month or so, to attend the twin birth in April, then flying to China in May, for the rainbow. I've been hired to attend a birth in Thailand in June, so then we'll go there, and then, after the babies are born, to Israel in July for a couple of weeks before coming home. I'll still miss the rainbow in Victoria, but that's okay; I probably couldn't go anyway because Putple has to work then.


The mother of the twins just went into labour and was rushed off for an emergency Caesarean section. She is now the proud mother of twin boys, born at just 29 weeks. Thankfully, they are all doing okay, though the babies are in the NICU in Sydney.

Of course, I'm glad they are all fine, and yes, I'm a little disappointed that I missed the birth. But, that leaves us free in April. So, it looks like we'll be going to Israel for Passover after all.

Then off to China for the rainbow in May, to Thailand for a birth in June, and back home in July. Handy, as I have another birth booked in August, and thankfully closer to home.

So, it all seems to work out.

I just bought for myself Anne Frye's Holistic Midwifery Vol I and II, which I'm really excited about. There's also a conference I really want to go to; Preparing for Birth and Parenthood. But it seems like it won't be an option; Purple will be in Israel in March, so there's no way I can go to Sydney for three days without Littletree, and even if I brought her with me, I don't know anyone there to watch her. sigh. There will be other conferences.

All that's left to do now is to find tickets to Israel in April.

Monday, 28 January 2008

What's a Wallaby?

Lately, I realised that most everyone in the world knows what a Kangaroo is; you mention Australia, and the first thing people think of is kangaroos.
But Wallabies, and their smaller counterparts, Pademelons, are almost unheard of.
For the layman, they're basically all just smaller versions of the same thing :)
Yesterday morning we stepped out of the house to this, right outside the door.
53 Wallaby
Man, I love living in the bush :D

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Beetroot Candy

Yesterday we made beetroot candy; quite a fun experiment. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (as usual), just started out with an idea that seemed like a good one.
Littletree was hassling for some 'sukariyot' (sweeties), and I wasn't super keen on the amounts of food colouring and flavourings and whatnots.

So! I took one beetroot, and chopped it up.
43 beet candy
cooked it in water for a whiles
44 beet candy
Then strained out the beet chunks and put in about a cup of unrefined organic sugar
45 beet candy
I cooked it a while, and added some lemon juice. I'm not really sure why the lemon, but there was half a lemon left over from lunch, and it just seemed to make sense. anyway, it made the flavour a bit tangy and cut the sweetness.
47 beet candy
Then I just stirred and simmered it for ages
48 beet candy
Eventually it got all bubbly and thick. It was fun to play with, and the colour was spectacular.
49 beet candy
Then it started to thicken, like a witches brew :)
50 beet candy
I think I cooked it for about 30 seconds too long; it started to caramelise so fast, and Littletree managed to burn her finger right at that moment. Anyway, it didn't quite burn, but it got a bit brown. still tasty though. I poured it into star-shaped moulds, and paper patty cake cups to set. It got really stretchy, and Littletree spent ages pulling strings and eating the floss.
51 beet candy
Here you have the finished product:
52 beet candy
A successful experiment :D

Monday, 21 January 2008

Littletree's Car Accident Song - Making Dead and Running Over

In my last post about Littletree's new guitar, I linked to the video of her new song.
I made a transcript of the text; I'm still laughing at it.
I think maybe if I promote this right, she could be a superstar of this one song. LOL

The words of Littletree's song:
L: its called making dead and run over.
me: ok whats it about?
L: its about people who got run over by cars and their hearts are still working

"matters then who's dead
matters who's dead who's dead who's dead
they cut it out for a different human,
human who has the heart, he needs a new heart, no mfsdfs[mumble]
who's ever dead, who's ever dead,
who's ever killed, who's ever run over by cars gets be be anything,
its much to scary for anything
people don't like to be dead
people, some people don't know about cars
not anything we don't wanna swing
any who's dead any who's run over by cars
are needed the cutting out the heart."

Here's the video again, if you missed it

Sunday, 20 January 2008

My Budding Rockstar

Littletree has lately been playing my guitar an awful lot. When we were in the cyclone without power I started showing her how to press on the frets, and she spent ages playing.

Anyway, I saw a 1/4 size guitar in the music shop a whiles back, and thought about getting it for her. But it seemed best to wait till she was really ready for it. So it seems like that time is now. Of course, I would have waited till her Birthday, which is in April, but we are gonna be travelling, so lugging a guitar around might not be the best plan.

So! Friday, when I was in town, feeling a bit spacey, I walked into the music shop and bought the guitar. It was pretty cheap anyway.

It was so great to bring it home to Littletree and tell her it's an early birthday present, and watch her open it and play with it. The guitar came with an instruction DVD that she watched for a while.

I was amazed to see how she followed the DVD along, responding to all the instructions. Until she got bored of it and announced, "people can play however they want to play"

One, Two, Three, Surprise!
25 guitar
It's a guitar!
26 guitar
27 guitar
Playing at last
28 guitar
She strummed on it for a while, and then started improvising songs. Here's her first real work, it's hillarious:

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Purple Computer Eater; aka, Never Buy an IBM laptop

Well, after our wonderful cyclone cut off the power, we found that Purple's wonderful computer didn't work. We plugged it in, nothing happened. We checked the spare battery; still nothing. We figured it might be a fault in the AC adaptor.

Yes, this is Purple's really fantastically fancy IBM Lenovo Thinkpad T60, that already broke down in Melbourne. Even then, we had a big drama with IBM service; they said we needed a new hard disc, and then offered to send a courier to bring us a new one and take the old one.

Purple insisted that he needed to transfer the data from the old one, and they arranged to let him keep the old one on loan for 3 days. Well, it turned out the guy in the call centre was outright lying to us, and ultimately, Purple had to surrender his hard disc. So then we had to wait around for a week to have all new software shipped from Israel. Not to mention all the lost work. It was all a huge drama, and I was supremely unimpressed with IBM's service.

Anyway, eventually, there was nothing left to do but call IBM service. The guy in the service call centre said it would take 2 days to ship a spare AC adaptor to us. We thought that was too long for Purple to be unable to work, and anyway, the service guy assured us that the problem wasn't the AC adaptor (as we suspected) and we would have to send the computer in to be serviced. A courier would come to pick the computer up and it would be returned to us within 4 days.

Four days!!? That seemed totally unacceptable, so we started ringing around to computer repair places to see if they could help us. No luck there. Meanwhile, Purple went down to town to rent another computer to work on in the meantime.

Naturally, that computer didn't work, so the next day he went back down and exchanged it for another one. Then a woman from DHL (the courier) called up to say that she was shipping the box to us, and it would arrive in 2 days.

? huh! what box? The box that we should put Purple's laptop in, so it can be shipped to the IBM service centre. Turns out, that the call centre guy had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. The courier does not come to collect the computer, they send us a box, to the post office, which we then have to pick up. We then put the computer into the box and send it back to them. It should take eight business days to get the computer back.

I got pissed off and the DHL woman said she'd get IBM service to call us back. They did; a different guy this time. I explained our tale of woe to that guy, all the while complaining loudly about the terrible service on IBM warranty. Turns out that pretty much everything the first guy told us was wrong.

It would indeed take 8 days for them to get the computer back to us, and as the courier service does not deliver to our remote house, they would send us a box, which we would have to go down to town to collect. (strange, since couriers have gotten to our place before). Also, this gervice guy thought that it was a possibility that the problem was with the AC adaptor, and offered to ship us one.

The guy was actually very understanding and patient with me ranting about unacceptable errors, and whatnot. He promised to issue an official complaint about the last serivce guy. he also offered to ship us a spare AC adaptor, which could be delivered by courier right to our door. Interesting that the courier that delivers replacement parts can come right to our home, but the courier that collects the computer for service can't.

Anyway, the plan was that they would ship us the spare adaptor, and put the order for service, so the box would be sent to us. The guy thought that the box and the adaptor should arrive on the same day, so we could check if the replacement adaptor works, and if not, then go get the box and ship the whole computer to them.

The new cord duly arrived by courier, but it didn't work. of course. The notification for the empty box never arrived to our letter box though. So Purple went into the post office to ask about it. After some searching, they did actually have the box, but it was incorrectly addressed. Whatever!

So, Purple sent his computer back to IBM service, and we waited. After a few days, they called us to say they couldn't find anything wrong with the computer, so it was being sent back :/ We should get it to the post office in 2 days.

Two days later... the post office had the computer for us... BUT it wasn't the computer, just an empty box!!! The service centre actually shipped us another empty box!

Luckily, the real computer did arrive, and all is well again. We still have no idea why the darn thing stopped working in the first place. nor can I really understand why a brand-new, really fancy computer should break down twice in it's first year.

The moral of this story? don't buy an IBM ThinkPad laptop. They might have very nice features, and a very fast processor, not to mention the wonderful little touchpoint mouse button that I miss so much from my old ThinkPad, but their service absolutely SUCKS.

oh, and I still have a headache, but it's getting better

Sunday, 13 January 2008

One Heck of a Headache

I have a headache.
I know, I'm a mother, so that's not really news. But this one is really something.
It started last Sunday evening, which means I've had it for a week (!) Only it wasn't really so bad, probably related to getting my period.

So I took a painkiller, drank plenty of water and took it easy. Until... On Tuesday I went with Littletree for a swim in the pool, and coming down the stairs, which were, of course, slippery from all the rain, I slipped and landed flat on my back on the stairs :(

It was very painful. At first, I couldn't move, but at least Littletree went running to get Purple, who came with Arnica, and helped me hobble to the bench to sit on.

I got some really fancy bruises come up pretty quickly, and my headache got terrible.
(here's a shot of my lower back)
24 Bruise
I just stayed in bed most of the time, feeling awful, and having this awful headache that didn't respond to pain killers. Not even the really strong ones with codeine.

Thursday, I started feeling nauseous and getting dizzy spells :( It seemed like going to the doctor was probably the wise thing to do. So, Friday morning, we went down to town to see the doc.

I couldn't get an appointment in the doctor's office, and they recommended that in my state, I should just go to the hospital.

I hate hospitals.

Well, the emergency room of our little village's little hospital was, as usual, pretty much empty. I waited 2 minutes for the nurse to see me and put me on a bed. She took a quick history, looked at my bruises and got the Dr. who came after about 5 minutes.

The Dr's opinion is that I have tension in my neck from having so much heavy hair (for those who didn't know, I have knee-length dread locks). And when I fell down the stairs, it knocked one of the vertebrae in my neck out of place, which was compressing an artery that supplies my brain, in turn causing another artery to compensate. Hence the terrible headaches, nausea and dizziness.

He manipulated my spine; cracked every bone in my body, and gave me a shot of morphine for the pain (!) I guess it was pretty bad for him to do that. He recommended I lighten the load on my head, and sent me home to bed.

I spent the rest of the day vomiting constantly, despite anti-nausea meds Dr gave me with the morphine. poor miserable me! Yesterday and today, I feel much better, but I still have a headache :/

I guess I'll have to do something about my hair... but that might take a bit of working up to.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Children's Book Prize Winner Refuses Nestle Cheque

I just stumbled across this Article about Sean Taylor, who won the Gold Medal in the Nestlé Children's Book Prize, under-5 category, for his book When a Monster is Born.

Taylor decided not to accept the prize money from Nestle, because of their
record of aggressive marketing of baby foods, which contributes to the unnecessary death and suffering of infants around the world.

Taylor wrote a letter refusing the prize, saying (bolding mine) is my view that their interpretation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes sets up the risk that profit is put before infant health. And, in addition, it seems that the actions of some of their employees on the ground are inconsistent with company policy as set out in the Head Office.

For these reasons I do not feel that Nestlé are the most appropriate sponsors for this major children’s book prize.

Nestle has also failed to answer reports on child slavery in its cocoa production.
Well, I applaud Taylor's decision, and I wonder if maybe accepting the prize but publicly donating the money to Baby Milk Action might have been a better use?

Monday, 7 January 2008

Cyclone Power!

I know, it's been a good long while since I last posted. But we've been living through a cyclone, so I have a good excuse.

The day before it started really raining, we went for a hike up Minyon Falls, which is beautiful
06 Minyon Falls

For those of you who didn't already read about it on the news, a cyclone has been hitting the north east of Australia pretty hard, our local area has been getting winds up to 110km/ hour and 5-6M swells.

Its been raining more than I ever thought possible. I don't have an accurate gauge, but I put a bucket outside and it fills up in half a day. the neighbours a bit down the mountain (who are getting less rain than us) measured 680mm in 4 days on their gauge! Most of the rivers around here are flooded, our road is washed away in many parts, and people who live just a bit further up have been flooded in for over a week; they've already been getting SES helicopter drops of food. Towns all around us are being evacuated and the whole area is on flood warning. Most of the beaches have been closed.

Here's the view from our back door. Notice that my Veggie garden is now a Veggie Jungle
18 Rain

and, fun fun fun! We live in a very small one-room cottage (about 550 sq feet) and have an outdoor toilet. So much rain has fallen on us water is starting to come in the walls; we actually have internal waterfalls, and mushrooms are growing on the rockwork!!
Here's the wall behind the love seat. Note that the water is flowing pretty fast down that wall! It comes out into the floor under the love seat and then trickles its way through the rock floor into the bathroom area. Of course, this is making the floor cave in.
20 rockwork
Our little blue car got stupidly bogged in an impossible way in our own yard as well.

So, if being three people in a small space in heavy weather for an extended period isn't enough, the power cut out!!! and it took Four Days to get power back on.

We all just sat at home, going slightly stir crazy, getting wet, everything being damp, all our food in the fridge going bad, Purple being unable to work, Littletree going insane. We read a lot, and did some art, and read some more, and I started teaching Littletree to play guitar.

Sunday was a little less rain :) and we went down for the markets.
Here's how our little creek looked on the way down
14 flood
And here's the driveway of one of our neighbours. Thank goodness where we live is on high ground :)
13 flood

In town was so humid I felt like dying, but at least it wasn't raining for a bit. Littletree took some nice photos, and we managed to get a few people to come up the hill with us and help get the car out of the mud.

We tried pushing, that didn't work. We'd already jacked the car up and put boards under the tyres, that didn't work. In the end, with the rain starting again, the five of us put our backs to it and lifted the front of the car just a tad, then lifted the back of the car and managed to shift it half a metre. Then we managed to push it out to freedom :D Phew!

Thankfully then the power came back on too, and we could get back to our internet-addicted lives. Only Purple's computer isn't working and it's becoming a nightmare. But more about that later.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Littletree's Angel

Littletree got two presents for Christmas this year; one was a nice t-shirt from our cousins in Germany, and the other was a make-your-own Angel kit from her friend next door.
We had lots of fun putting the Angel together, getting all Gluey
01 Angel
02 Angel
03 Angel
Here's the finished product:
04 Angel
Well, Christmas is well and truly over now, not that we really noticed it's existance