Monday, 31 May 2010

Quit Facebook Day

Today is Quit Facebook Day. I’ve long been avoiding Facebook, since I disagree with their privacy policy and terms of service.

Essentially, Facebook *own* all the information you post on their website, forever. They can and do sell your information and photos to third party sites. It’s a huge risk for identity theft. I find it a huge potential risk for much nastier stuff as well.

As a midwife who specialises in working with women who are survivors of abuse, I find Facebook is especially risky; it is *very* easy to track people down through their account, even if you’re using a fake name (using a fake name, is, by the way, against their terms of service, which I highly encourage everyone to read, as well as their privacy policy).

Other companies and governments get access to your info – in fact, that’s how Facebook makes their money – by selling your information. The ads are just a bonus. I might be paranoid, but with good reason. The holocaust wasn’t all that long ago; imagine some whacko getting into power with access to all the information available about everyone on Facebook!

The scary thing is, it’s really hard to delete your account. You can read about that, and how to actually do it HERE. If you don’t want to delete your account altogether, I strongly suggest you go into your account settings and privacy settings, go through every tab and read it all carefully to get the strongest security you can. Check back into those settings regularly – Facebook often change their privacy policy and terms of service, and often when these settings get updated, all your settings go back to default, exposing you.

And do you really need Facebook? A couple of years ago, no one had it – we used email, photosharing sites, instant message systems, blogs… all those infrastructures are still in place.

Anyway, my good friend Strypes talks at length about it all, so if you’re interested, you can read his blog post HERE

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Mmm Broccoli

Oddly enough, though I’ve been assured that if children are allowed to freely eat sweets, they will eat nothing but candy and junk food all day, Littletree’s current favourite snack is broccoli


She begged for a head of broccoli when we stopped to get veggies at the local organic farm stall on our way home from town the other day, and couldn’t even wait till we got home to start munching!

Note the smear of chocolate on her cheek – she’d bought a little chocolate with her pocket money, and even after eating chocolate, she still wanted broccoli, rather than finishing the chocolate off.

So the bags of sweets and cookies pile up, abandoned in the pantry.

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Littletree said she wants to go back to Brazil, and she wants to learn to speak Portuguese, so we went to the library to get a book to learn Portuguese. I found us some great lessons, with books and CDs, so we’ve been polishing up our language skills; it’s been more than six years since I had any practice in speaking Portuguese, and I keep getting mixed up with Spanish!

So at the library, it was story time, which we don’t go to much any more as it’s mostly aimed at pre-school aged kids, but this week, the librarian had brought in a cage full of ducklings for the kids to pet.


Littletree loved it, and of course now she really wants to get chicks :) So I’ll be amping up our mission to repair the aviary we have in our yard so we can have chickens.


I can’t wait to be having our own eggs! :)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Weekend Workshop with Gloria Lemay

After I got home from my crazy-long drive down to Victoria for the HBA conference, I found out about a weekend workshop on Fear in Childbirth at Jenny Blyth’s property, with Gloria Lemay!

I was lucky enough that there was still a space available, so I cleared the rest of my week to spend as much time as possible with Littletree, and then got back in my car to drive up into Queensland for the weekend.

The workshop was so worth it. Jenny’s property is amazingly beautiful, with a feeling of expansive space.


The weather was great; a perfect setting for the workshop, which was held outdoors on a wooden stage.


I loved walking around the property during breaks, and swimming in the dam


On the Saturday night the outdoor pizza oven was fired up for a super-yummy dinner – pizza for 25 people :)


I learned so much from the workshop – Gloria Lemay is so great, and so hilarious!


It was definitely great to meet her! I can’t believe I spent the weekend with Anne Frye last weekend and Gloria Lemay this weekend.


I came home feeling recharged despite having driven around 4000km since last week. It was so wonderful to spend the weekend doing birthy stuff with a bunch of amazing women, and connecting with other conscious birth workers. And I got to stop in for a visit with the most gorgeous Ariad on the way home :D

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Back from the HBA Conference

I got home early this morning from my awesome adventure down south for the Homebirth Australia Conference. In the last 6 days, I’ve driven around 3200km (2000mi) and attended a 2.5 day conference.

Of course, I made great time, and rushed home to see Littletree, which was great, but now I’m paying for it with having come down with the flu. Purple has made me a wonderful, spicy tomato soup with lots of garlic and my homemade chicken stock.

Anyway, I left after lunch on Wednesday, and stopped for a rest at about 8pm. I slept a few hours, and woke up around midnight, feeling refreshed, and FREEZING – it was 2 degrees (35F)! So I drove onwards… The van was whining a bit, and I realised the battery was draining with the lights and heater on after a few hours, so I stopped to sleep again, making sure I parked in a rest area where there were other cars, lest I couldn’t start again in the morning.

When I woke up, the van started, no problem, so I drove into the next town; Coonabarabran (The astronomy capital of Australia) and stopped to fill the petrol tank.

Coonabarabran has Australia’s largest telescope, and the worlds largest scale model of the solar system – it is spread out over about 200km! I have to bring Littletree out there one day!


My poor van, Sunshine, wouldn’t start again – flat battery.

At least I was lucky enough to have made it to the town! and more luck: I had broken down right in front of the NRMA (roadside assistance club)! The NRMA guy came to jump start me, and I said I didn’t think it was charging, and it was probably a problem with the alternator belt.

The NRMA mechanics looked at it, decided indeed, there was a problem with the alternator. While I waited, I browsed Coonabarabran, and found this awesome dolls house for Littletree in the OpShop, for only $5!


Back at the NRMA, it took about 5 hours to work out that the problem wasn’t the belt, but the alternator, which they pronounced dead. Apparently, a replacement alternator could be found in Dubbo; 2 hours south, but not until the next day.

I politely declined the offer of a (NRMA-paid-for) hotel room and a 24 hour delay, and got them to charge my battery – I then set out for Dubbo with the number of the place that had the alternator, not daring to switch off the engine for anything, to find an auto electrician who could fix it.

In Dubbo, I pulled into the first auto electrician I saw on the road, and begged them to help me… Maccas Auto Electrical – true legends! They not only agreed – at 3pm – to do the job, the apprentice quickly worked out that my alternator was not dead, but just the belt (oh the irony!), and replaced it for me.

On the road again by 5pm! No thanks to the NRMA!

Anyway, even despite the 8-hour-breakdown, I arrived to Echuca by 11am the next day. Since I had nothing much to do till the conference registration/ cocktail evening started, I browsed around the op-shops and walked around, and finally, went out to the resort where the conference was to mooch about till starting time.

Another moment of Luck! Anne Frye, who is somewhat of a midwifery-guru to me, having authored my bible: Holistic Midwifery, was also mooching around with not much to do.

Like a total idiot, I went up to her and blathered “OMG you’re Anne Frye! I’m such a big fan!”, She was really nice and we ended up chatting, and we sat together at dinner the next evening as well :D


The way home was somewhat uneventful. I drove all day yesterday (which was my birthday), stopping for stretching breaks in all the little towns, browsing in the op shops – I scored some great stuff; small remote towns always have the best op shops! I passed 177777.7km on my odometer


and was treated to a spectacular birthday sunset, complete with sunset rainbow



It’s nice to be home.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Express Yourself

I’m leaving today to drive down to Victoria for the Homebirth Australia conference, so I’ll be gone for a week. I’m pretty excited to see Anne Frye speaking.

But just to tide you all over till I get back, here’s one of Littletree’s recent songs, it’s all about expressing yourself, and only believing what your heart tells you, rather than what other people tell you to believe, and taking charge of your own body and life. :D

Monday, 10 May 2010

All Day Drawing

I’ve been having a really busy week this week, and Littletree has a nasty cold, so I haven’t had much to write.

I did do an all-day life drawing group – a bunch of us spent seven hours together, taking turns to do the modelling; I did some nice stuff, you can see it all HERE

Highlights; a one-minute sketch:

08 100510

Pencil drawing

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pastel shading

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Long pose

17 100510 

It was a great day!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

International Midwives Day

Shouldn’t we all be celebrating? Wouldn’t that be nice. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the Australian government weren’t in the pocket of the Obstetrician-headed AMA? Imagine if Australia would uphold the basic human rights of women, and support them to choose where and how and with whom they give birth.

The government says they’re increasing availability and options for maternity care, that midwives will be able to claim under Medicare and get prescribe under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. There’s a lot of talk going around at the moment about “eligibility”, though it’s been made plain to anyone who reads between the lines that virtually no one will be eligible, and in order to meet criteria, Midwives must prove that they have been thoroughly indoctrinated into medical-minded management, and beholden to a doctor. For a pregnant woman to be eligible for homebirth… well, they more-or-less “risk out” everyone, don’t they.

I keep hearing from people saying they can’t get a midwife to attend a homebirth any more, thanks to the new laws.

The reality is that in no other department of health care does one need permission from a specialist surgeon in order to see a standard practitioner.

If I had a sore throat, I wouldn’t go straight to see an ENT, just to prove that it’s not life-threatening and refer me to a GP. And while that might be a cute analogy, it’s somewhat irrelevant, as BIRTH IS NOT A DISEASE!

In Holland, the country with the best statistics in the world as far as maternity goes (and a lot of other things), pregnant women must first see a midwife for primary care. If she wants to see an obstetrician, a pregnant woman needs a referral from the midwife, and if the services of an obstetrician aren’t medically indicated, she needs to pay out of pocket for those services, while midwifery care is covered under the government health care scheme.

Having Obstetricians attend normal births is a waste of their specialised surgical training. It’s an insult to women’s human rights.

Anyway, before I end up ranting on forever, I’ll just leave you all with the wise words of Carla Hartley:

Birth is Safe. Interference is Risky. TRUST BIRTH.

Happy International Day of the Midwife

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Walking on Water

This weekend we had a nice family day out – went to see How to Train Your Dragon at the big cinema in the city where they have 3D – such an indulgence, and I think we’ve used up our entire year’s movie quota in the past month! Two of the four times we’ve been to the cinema in the past 3 years were in the past 3 weeks!

The film was lots of fun, and when we came out, we saw these huge balls floating out on the lake by the shopping mall. On closer inspection, it turned out you could actually go inside these balls and run around on the water.

Littletree was super-keen to have a go – how odd!

She listened carefully to the instructor, who explained how she had to get in, and how to do a “time out” signal if she wanted to get out.

80 water ball

Littletree isn’t keen on loud noises – a carry-over from her almost-defunct sensory processing issues, but she endured the noise of the air compressor filling the ball

81 water ball

Cautiously, she stepped out onto the water,

82 water ball

Promptly fell over, and then she was off!

84 water ball

Here’s a short video I made of the fun

In any case, it was a highly educational event – we learned how much oxygen time a child has in a 180cm ball – up to 30 minutes, but with activity, best not to stay more than 10-15 mins. We learned how to run on water, and what it looks like at the bottom of the lake at the mall (dirty with seaweed). And we proved that with enough motivation, Littletree will overcome her fears.