Monday, July 28, 2008

Decluttering: Puppy style!

Ah there is nothing like a mobile baby to point out all the overlooked hazards and temptations your home offers below knee level :)

Molly is settling in well and gaining confidence in her new environment. Her retrieiving genes are revealing themselves hysterically: any treasure she finds is destined for her bed and she is an eternal optimist when it comes to size! Yesterday she was trying to drag a single bed blanket that the kids snuggle up with on the family room couch! Earlier, it was the bathmat while I brushed my teeth! Thankfully, she is just as happy to retrieve her own stuff, so will let you throw all her toys out of the bed and then retrieve them one by one - finally a child who puts her toys away!

She is a girly-girl. She is obsessed with my Lush hand cream and I have to fend her off after I use it, otherwise she tries to lick it off! And she shares my love of 'nice things' - when she finally got the lid off the storage box under my bed, it wasn't my summer skirts she wanted, but the lavender bag she found amongst them! When she suddenly smelled of lavender, I removed it, so she merrily went back and found another one. The box - and anything else that was also under the bed - were packed off to the storage unit yesterday :)

Molly is a very quiet dog: she barked once yesterday while attacking an innocent pink teddy (who misguidely thought his new home would involve a sweet baby, not a vicious puppy!) but apart from that, their have only been a couple of yikes brought on by surpise cat attacks! She is a great listener and keen to learn, so training will hopefully be smooth going. She loves her bed and will happily sit in it and watch the world go by on the rare occasion she is not the centre of the universe! Yesterday, she came along for the ride whe I picked Kieran up and she travels calmly and happily in the car, so that is a relief too! She worked out quickly that the kitchen is the place to be and very cutely sits the instant she sees you with a plate or cup in hand!

Frodo is coming around and I reckon they will be friends by the end of the week. Merry, always more cautious, is staying well out the way and Molly gives her a wide berth - on her first day, she poked half her body through the cat flap and encountered a very surprised cat on the other side! She hasn't gone near the cat flap again, which is a good thing, as the cats' food is on he other side!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Good golly, Miss Molly!

WARNING: the following may contain material unsuitable for non-pet people. Proceed with caution.

We have a new member of our family - Molly AKA "Chalsmae Marina"

Molly is 14 weeks old, born 19 April 2008 and came to our home yesterday. I found Molly online - sort of canine internet ding, I guess! You can see more about her breeders here and see her Mum and Dad. It is our fortune that the slight mismarking around her left eye rules her out of being the show dog she is otherwise qualified to be! So the little princess gets to be our companion instead of a supermodel :)

Resident cats, Frodo and Merry - barely recovered from Shadow the stray cat - are doing their best to be outraged. Frodo is also intensely curious, even sneaking up close when he thought Molly and I were asleep! Yes - I must confess: the simplest way to manage new puppy nighttime is to just pop them into bed with you! No crying, more sleep all round.

Needless to say, Molly is stealing hearts one by one as she meets the family in person and th extended circle of friends online in her very own photo album (scrapbook coming soon!!)

We already love this littl girl, wh is discovering things like floor heating ducts, split level floors and cats for the very first time :)

No doubt, you will see more here soon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

In the Doldrums

It is deepest,darkest winter and I find myself in my deepest, darkest place once again.

I really do need to acknowledge that this time of the year is down time for me. While the height of summer knocks me for six from an MS perspective (the heat and humidity sap my energy), winter is the peak time for my fibromyalgia symptoms to rule the day. I seem to crash mid winter each year. Every joint protests the changes in the weather pattern - I am some sort of living barometer! That is a job I could happily do without, but I seem to have no say in the matter.

My yoga class last night - the Rest and Renew class - saw my body protesting at every stretch. Today, despite selfish plans to use my day off to do stuff I wanted to do, I stayed under the doona until just now and the only reason I am up is because the one plan for today that was essential is to buy food! I have been putting off the big shop for days now, but the family will turn cannibal if I don't restock! I have bribed Kaitlyn to come with me.

I guess that is the part that peeves me most. I can try to ignore the pain and fatigue for only so long, then my body claims ownership and sends me running for cover.

Excuse me, but I was actually using that body!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Amazing journey

It sounds like the most basic of Disney storylines, yet it is a true story!

You will have read a couple of weeks ago that a cat arrived on our doorstep one night. Afer putting notices around the neighbourhood and a false hope along the way, we had given up hope of reuniting cat and owner and began wondering how to intergrate the animal into our husehold.

So imagine my surprise when my voice mail revealed a most likely owner! Even more surprised to hear that the woman, living only a five minute walk from our house, had actually given the cat to friend in Mornington two years ago and it was fom ther he disappeared six months ago! Was it even possible this could be the same well-fed, seek feline currently reposed on my bed?

The instant she walked in our door and spotted her old friend - Shadow - Deb burst into tears! Although Shadow showed no reall sign of recognition, it was obvious Deb did! She showed us photos of Shadow and it was certainly the same cat. She showed also a photo of Shadow and his canine pal Rikki, who she broght in from the car to reunite with his cat friend. Obviously, dogs had not continued to be friendly during Shadow's adventure and he didn't take kindly to the visitation!

Deb, Shadow and Rikki then travelled home around the corner, leavig us hoping we had done the right thing. Today, I spoke with Deb and found Shadow had spent last night snuggled up to her in bed and at the first opportunity, had crossed the fence to beat up the neighbour's cat: the very act that got him rehoused in the first place!

A search with Google maps shows us Shadow travelled 16kms during his half-year o the road, an amazing feat. He obviously befriended others along the way, as he wa in perfect condition at the end of the journey.

No doubt, we will see him again!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Full Nesters

Who knew?

During all those years of raising babies and toddlers and school kids, those who had gone before us warned how important it was to maintain our own interests as women, to avoid the dreaded "Empty Nest Syndrome", when mothers of adult children feel loss of purpose when their children leave home and establish independent lives of their own.

So we who spent the 1980s pregnant and breastfeeding, the 1990s supervising homework and coordinating the after school run and the 2000s aticipating an impending empty nest ... are a little shell-shocked to realise OUR babies aren't leaving home!

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE my young adult kids and it is fantastic that we must have made all the right parenting choices after all, because they like us so much as people that they have NO NEED TO ESCAPE!

Its just, houses like ours - built in the mid 70s - were never intended to house five adults! Let alone their friends, electronic life essentials, cars etc. Far from wondering what to do with all this empty space, we face the challenge of sharing a lot of unempty space. Instead of downsizing, we find ourselves resizing.

Once again, I feel the Baby Boomers in the background laughing at us ... except THEY are all too busy being Grey Nomads and SKI Club members!

Miss Melissa's Outing

Melissa recently created this dress for a friend. It is based on a costume in the movie Sweeney Todd. Before it gets handed over to its new owner, we gave it an outing to some local places of similar era.

Photographed at Ballam Park Homestead, Frankston; Mornington Historical Railway and Oak Hill Gallery, Mornington
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My faith is restored!!!!

It is with great relief that I can tell you that the past 24 hours has seen the Minister's office under a DELUGE of emails asking for ABA Vic Branch to be funded and - restoring my faith - we have been advised late this afternoon, that we will get our funding!!!!

Thank you to everyone who supported our call for support!

Now - we need a new office, have to relocate all our stuff back out of storage, tell everyone we are there ...

... I think I am in for a busy couple of months!

Don't believe everything you read in the paper

As I lobby to get the funding from the State Government to continue funding our office (and therefore my paid job, however that is a secondary concern!), re-reading an article published in the Herald-Sun in May this year make me even crosser than it did at the time!

You see, as we have been waiting since January to hear the decision we were then advised we would be given after the May State budget, we were confused to read the following, only to be told by the department that the article had nothing to do with them and must be referring to monies we had recieved previously!

Mums to get guides

Peter Rolfe
May 25, 2008 12:00am

BREASTFEEDING guides will be hired to encourage mothers to feed their babies naturally, under a Brumby Government plan.

In a bid to boost breastfeeding rates, the guides will work across the state.
Breastfeeding education classes are being developed, with more than $60,000 given to the Victorian branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association to carry out the plan.
New figures reveal big variations in breastfeeding rates.

West Wimmera, Mansfield and Queenscliff have the highest breastfeeding rates in the state, according to a Department of Education and Early Childhood Development report.
But the City of Casey, which takes in Berwick, Cranbourne and Narre Warren, has by far the state's lowest rate.

Only 62 per cent of Casey mothers breastfed when they were discharged from hospital, compared with more than 93 per cent in West Wimmera and 90 per cent in Mansfield. The figure dropped to only 13.8 per cent after six months.

A department spokeswoman said culture, beliefs and a desire to return to work affected breastfeeding rates.

You can see how we thought we were getting our funding! But no, still we wait ...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Letter I wrote today ... maybe you want to send one, too?

Maxine Morand
Minister for Child and Early Childhood Development
Minister for Women’s Affairs

Dear Minister,

I am writing to you regarding the current state of funding from your department to the Victorian Branch of the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

I am most concerned that ongoing funding has not yet been allocated, leaving vital services unsupported.

Since joining this Association in 1984 I have seen the awareness grow in our community about the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and babies. I am proud to have contributed to our society through my work as a volunteer breastfeeding counsellor since 1992, however it is frustrating to see barriers to successful breastfeeding increasing alongside understanding of the risks associated with premature weaning.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a not-for-profit support network which began in Melbourne more than 44 years ago and has grown Australia-wide become a world renowned example of peer support and community awareness practices. In other States across Australia, and at a Federal level, our Governments recognise the value of the Association’s work, with funding of infrastructure, education and resources.

It shames me that Victoria lags embarrassingly behind in this area. Working within ABA at a national level, I find myself constantly explaining our lack of financial assets to seed projects in this State that other States receive abundant funding to establish.

We received our first funding from your Department for the calendar year of 2007. As that year came to an end, we were offered a lifeline of an additional six-months funding, to allow services to the community to remain uninterrupted while our new submission was considered. We were assured at that time that this interim funding, to cover costs until June 30th, was in recognition of the need to maintain our office services to both our volunteer workforce of more than 400 women and to the families across Victoria during a time of rapid population growth.

It is now a new financial year and we find ourselves in limbo. It is disappointing that your department has valued our work so poorly as to allow a full six months to pass by without addressing the situation. This leaves me with a poor opinion of our government and makes me consider future voting decisions: circumstances I will discuss with my partner, three adult children, family, friends and the wider community.

I urge your department to give this matter the most urgent of attention. If this government stands behind its recognition of the importance of breastfeeding to our community, then it needs to prioritise funding the organisation that has been working to this end since 1964.