Monday, January 30, 2012

Today I am Thankful - water aerobic, art and cool change

- for water aerobics! Yay! I went back to class after a whole year off. I can't tell you how good it felt - like a load off my shoulders to have done that and yoga last week. Now I can get on with returning to it as a regular part of my routine and I am also intending to get to my other class on Friday. My friends were delighted to see me too :)

- for art: I have two ongoing projects for the year now, which will see me art journalling through 2012. They are:
Life Book 2012
Book of Days 2012
AND I am doing a class by one of my favourite journalling artists Joanne Sharpe, because I want to do stuff that looks like the stuff she does!!!!!!       

Finally, I am exploring a new way of looking at scrapbooking - not in place of the traditional stuff which I will continue to do - but a way of keeping ephemera and journaling life, with these fantastic SMASH journals!

- for cool change: so over the hot, humid weather these past few days. Will be glad to open the doors and windows and get some cool air.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

More than just a rice cooker

I just have to have a bit of a rave. I am so loving the new rice cooker I bought a few months ago. In my endless quest to eat well with maximum effort, I am finding more and more I can cook in it!

As well as my winter main-stay breakfast of steel-cut oats, I discovered I can also cook the wonderful quinoa in the cooker. Then I experimented and came up with a wonderful meal base of quinoa+brown rice cooked together. And this past week - worked out I can do the same with a lentil+brown rice combo!

Very simply, I measure one cup of brown rice, one cup of quinoa or lentils and then add four cups of water, put the lid on and set to the rice setting. Once it is cooked, it clicks over to warm, so I don't even need to keep much of an eye on it. Out comes perfectly cooked grains/pulses and I can add fresh vegies etc to make a quick meal, either warm or cold. I can even reduce the washing up by just adding everything else into the removable bowl from the cooker.

I am going to experiment with all those other grains you hear are good for you.

I thought I would share the "recipe" I just made for dinner (plus two more meals for one).

  • one batch of rice/lentil combo
  • grated carrot
  • grated cucumber
  • advocado
  • sun dried tomtoes
  • walnuts
  • goats cheese
  • olives
  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today I am Thankful - community, yoga and Hymn to Her

- for community. I love how people I know are friends with other people I know who have met other people I know and it just turns into a wonderful circle of friends. Today my daughter hung out with a heap of my baby-wearing friends at the safe baby-wearing meet-up in Frankston. My daughter doesn't have any babies, but she believes that baby-wearing is a positive part of raising children, so she went along in support and just introduced herself to all these people who knew all about her from my Facebook and blogging! When she does have babies, her village will be l be waiting for her :)
Always a loving pair of arms for a little one with a n owie!
- for getting there: last night I did a yoga class! A big tick off my list of healing things for 2012. No, not my first yoga class, but the first in too many months to count. And it felt good. And I plan to be there again next week.

- for art: yesterday, I put together some images of the Triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone Matriarch with some lyrics from a wonderful song by The Pretenders, Hymn to Her, which is a song I love. I am really happy with the result, which reflects my transitional stage - the Maiden is past, the Mother is turning away and the Matriarch is facing the world. (I don't like the connotation of Crone in our modern culture, no longer a term for an elder wise woman, but a disparaging hag who has lost her looks and youth. I like matriarch better). Oh, no - she isn't a depiction of me BTW - she is Everywoman)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Fall out" from the Frankston baby sling incident

Today the baby sling story I shared yesterday has hit the media and the inevitable for and against comments are appearing in the comments posted by readers. It is interesting how many people are supporting the opinion that slings-are-bad-prams-are-good.

We used prams and slings equally with our three children and I am by no means anti-pram. However they, like baby slings, need to be purchased and used within safety guidelines.

Do you recall this dreadful incident a couple of years ago? (Please note the child survived physically unscathed)

The Frankston baby was as safe as can be, worn by a parent who knows and practices the safety guidelines. Whether this can also be said for a lot of the pram-wielding population is less clear. You only have to spend some time in a shopping centre to see strollers toppling from unbalanced shopping bags; babies over-heating beneath excess bedding and toddlers straddled or propped atop babies in prams with no toddler seat. And no police checking for their safety. Google calls that "pram fail"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Caution! Orlando Bloom had better stay out of Frankston!

I am proud to live in Frankston but there are times when I hang my head in shame to have any association with it.

Today is one of those days.

You see, apparently you can now get questioned by police for the act of - male baby-wearing. Like this:
My favourite elf, Lord of the Rings star Orlando Bloom, wearing baby Flynn
A friend's partner was today stopped by police for the crime of carrying his daughter in a baby sling. In Frankston:

Beach street, Frankston. 2 police cars stopped, 3 police got out and interrogated this Dad for wearing this 12 month old baby in this Olives and Applesauce soft structured baby carrier while she slept (with the hood on). They had received a call from someone saying a man was suffocating his baby while walking down the street.
After 1 officer stuck her head into the sling to see the baby, noted that they baby was fine and said so, they lectured this man about parenting, informing him that it was too hot to wear the baby (under 30 degrees with a cool breeze in a suburb by the sea), that it was unsafe to have her on his back, apparently having her on the front would "give her more room to breathe". They told him that his baby was at risk of dying of SIDS and requested he remove the sling and carry the baby home, which he refused to do because it would wake the child. 1 officer reached their hand into the sling and removed a small toy the child was holding in her sleep and stated "now there will be better airflow so she won't get so hot". 1 police officer loosened the hood which was supporting the sleeping baby's head.

After all this 1 cop asked why the was getting frustrated. The Dad was told to use a pram from now on.
We are very disappointed at this harassment from three individuals who clearly have no information about babywearing.
To say I am astonished is to put it mildly - baby-wearing is currently seeing a resurgence in popularity around the world and if those same officers had been at the Frankston Waterfront Festival last weekend, they could have seen dozens of parents - fathers as well as mothers - using slings instead of prams. For goodness sake, I was carrying my babies like this back in the 1980s in Frankston!!!

This Dad is no bogan, he has a degree with honours in criminology! His wife is well-known in parenting circles for her promotion and use of baby slings and teaches at workshops on using them! Their first child, now 4 was also worn in a variety of slings from birth and these parents are well-aware of safe baby-wearing practices.

So how is this ancient way of carrying infants now suddenly a criminal offence? And who trained police officers to know what is safe and unsafe when it comes to baby-sling use?


You know, I was so pleased with how our local police responded when we were broken into last year. Now I am sad they will be justly ridiculed around the world for their ignorance. The media will love this. Awareness demonstrations are being planned for next week:

Join us out the front of the Cinemas in Wells st for a public babywearing info session where passers-by can learn about safe babywearing and try out a wide range of slings for themselves and meet babywearing parents.
And now Miranda Kerr and her husband Orlando Bloom can't come to Frankston, because they might be arrested for their shared-parenting practices :(

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today I am Thankful - techies, vegies and power

- for the hard-working souls who provide all of our social media AT NO COST TO US! I am loving the new Pinterest app on Facebook and I am sure the new Good Reads one will work properly soon, so there is no need for people to get so rude in the comments on their blog or FB wall - be nice, people!

- for fresh food: I popped out to the produce store and the vegies were so fresh, I don't think they yet realised they are harvested! We are blessed with our access to good food.

- for power: the electricity went off unexpectedly for about an hour. The Men of the House were bereft as the cycling vanished from the TV screen and the game from the computer. I just picked up my book ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Today I am Thankful - purple, lunch & art

- for purple: the myotherapist exclaims: your bra matches your toe-nails!

- for lentils & rice: such a yummy lunch at Aum Shanti. Note to self - make time to eat here more often.

- for art: I posted my artworks for the first and third weeks of Life Book to my Facebook Wall and peole said nice things. For all that I am so public with so much of my life, I am nervous about my ventures into drawing and painting. So positive feedback helps. (Week Two is a Dream Board, cutting and pasting planned for tonight/tomorrow)

Week One - Iris, Goddess of Rainbows. We needed to aknowledge our Goddess Super Powers, harder than it seems, to get round the self-talk that "bragging" is not the done thing.

Week Three - Goddesses illustrating two sides of me. I chose to show my public and private personas - one my work days, I am the person that mothers visit to find help with their breastfeeding problems. This is represented by the Roman Goddess Rumina, Goddess of breastfeeding and women. But on the days I am not at work, I am focused on seeking help for my own health issues, represented by Panacea, the Greek Goddess of Healing. But she is reaching out to and connecting with Rumina, because that work also helps me heal and grow, so they are not truly separate.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Needles and Pins

I have this song stuck in my head -

This post is in one form a confessional, a group heads-up. You see, for this past week I have been experiencing what is most likely a flare-up of my MS. I have numbness and "pins and needles" in my hands and feet. It is trying to decide where to settle, LOL, sometimes making both my little fingers disappear and others, it decides my feet are freezing cold. I also experienced - for the first time - two bouts of Raynauds phenomenon last Saturday, most likely associated with the whole episode.

I have made an appointment to see my GP, who will give me a new referral to my neurologist, who will send me for another MRI, which may or may not show new lesions, for which they may or may not want to treat me with steroids. Sigh.

So, if you see me and I am constantly rubbing various extremities, it is just my brain forgetting the blood isn't really cut off from them, it just feels like it - and if you see more typos, it will be the result of trying to type with numb fingertips!

Worry not, it is just a new path in the journey that is my life with MS.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Today I am Thankful - weekend, village tales & resting

- for the most wonderful weekend at the Frankston Waterfront Festival. This annual event in our beach-side town just grows and grows! And for the first time in years, we were blessed by the weather gods. Although it was quite chilly on Saturday, Sunday was gloriously beautiful. In-between my shifts in our feed and change tent, run for mums by our local ABA group, I was able to hang out with my daughter Kaitlyn on Saturday then my daughter Melissa on Sunday. We must have walked more than our 10 000 steps as we explored the event, but I probably ate back the same kilojoules in yummy food!

- for village tales. After a long delay waiting for book ten in the series to come from overseas (possibly via the Moon!), I am back on track with the Turnham Malpas series by Rebecca Shaw and am just about to begin book 11!

- for resting. Just a little tired after the weekend, so a bed day was in order. Caught up on my Google Reader, checked out all the goodies in the Life Book course I have signed up for with Willowing and basically doing very little!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Just what is normal, anyway?

Feeling really sad about news that hit the blogosphere this week - Breastfed babies cry more and smile less not so much because of the content, the study or the outcome, but because of the glaring presumption the response is based on.

Can you guess?

No? Probably because we are all so inured to it that we no longer notice.

Cry MORE and smile LESS - than what?

Than bottle-fed babies, which are deemed the norm, that's who.

It happens all the time, in every media article and many promotional publications. The baseline that breastfeeding is measured against is the "normal" outcomes of bottle-feeding.

Breastfed babies have lower rates of ...

Breastfed babies are less likely to ...

Breastfeeding mothers have higher protection from ...

It seems we have become so complacent about the prevalance of artificial feeding that we have forgotten it is not the natural method of infant nutrition. We have come to consider breastfeeding as optional, superior, better ... best! When it isn't, it is just normal. The default method. The way every other mammal feeds its young.

Now, if this headline said "Bottle-fed babies cry less and smile more" it would be more accurate. Just as headlines stating "Formula fed infants have higher risk of (insert whichever "benefit" of breastfeeding you wish)" would be more accurate. But they don't, because everyone has forgotten the default.

And that is much to blame for the attitudes towards breastfeeding in the world.

And the world doesn't even realise it.

The impact of this means that we no longer know what normal infant behaviour is. That we are not told how modified cows milk formula is still cows milk and that was designed by Mother Nature to feed baby cows.

If I asked you to name some differences between cows and humans, I bet you wouldn't think of  how their babies are raised. This is partly because you don't see a lot of naturally-raised calves today.

Ssh - nobody knows I am here
A cow (or other herd-animal) eats grass, which is very low in energy, so she needs to eat pretty constantly. This grazing means she needs to walk around quite a lot. A newborn cow , however, feeds only on his mother's milk, so it makes more sense for him to conserve energy, rather than expend it unnecessarily wandering around after his mother. But a cow can hardly carry her baby as she grazes. Yet if you leave a sleeping calf lying in the long grass alone, you risk him waking and calling for his mother - and that would attract predators. Which is a dnager to the calf and the rest of the herd. So, the mother's milk is specially designed to sedate the calf, allowing him to sleep long periods between feeds, until he is older and can keep up with the herd more easily.

In arms reach
A human (or other primate) eats fruits,vegetables, leaves, grasses and berries.( And meat, in some species, including our own. Primates are nomadic animals, moving as they eat during the day and setting up a nest to sleep where they are at night. Primates also have hairy chests and their young have a strong gripping reflex to hold onto their mother, so she can easily graze AND care for her baby. And when the baby isn't clinging-on, the mothers has arms to carry him. A heavily-sedated infant would not be able to cling on and react to the mother's changing position as she moves and they need to rouse quickly when they need to feed. This can be as frequent as every hour in some species! The baby is then soothed back to sleep by his mothers moving body. Grazing is not something the mothers needs to stop doing to feed her infant.

Cows milk is by no means the most similar to human milk and is not actually a logical choice to replace it. But cows, goats and sheep ARE animals that were easily domesticated and so their milk was at hand when formula was first invented.

Newborn chimpanzee
So,  it makes sense that when you feed a human infant the milk designed for a baby cow, the baby will behave more like a calf than a human: he sleeps long and deep, going longer between feeds and being quickly sedated by them. And in our modern world, these have become desired traits in our young, as we no longer graze with our babies clinging to our chests and we have many more activities in daily life than other primates.

But that does not make that behaviour normal. Or healthy. But it is easy to sell.

Sleeping like a baby ... but what type of baby?

Today I am thankful - abundance, lunching and tea

- for the abundance of fresh food at the shop down the road. Popping in to gather supplies for lunch, all the produce just looks so good right now, the result of the rain that seems to have everything growing at high speed!

- for lunch with a friend - second Friday in a row, lunch with Julie - this time at my place so she could watch Kaitlyn's wedding DVD and see the photos. Reconnecting after too long between lunches is so good. Even though lunch is really the wrong description for 5 hour meet ups!

- for tea - Rose Grey, bought in Bathurst on my road trip and shared today with Julie. Might have to order more online, as this is becoming a firm favourite!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back to Being Thankful

I have just had a moment of enlightenment, as I trawled through my blog looking for something ( I really must start tagging my posts properly) - I scrapbooked HEAPS last year, only it was mostly in words, when I was doing my thankful posts! Looking back, I see that I actually had a more positive year than my reflection back would show. So I am going to start doing them again - we are less than two weeks into the year and, anyway - I could probably find three things for each of the past twelve days from my FB wall! So, stay tuned for me to be Thankful: hopefully every day in 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Joy of Books

This is the most amazing book store video I have ever seen - it is also the only one - and you really must watch it if you have ever rearranged your own bookshelves!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

HEAL - my word for 2012

Like many others out there, each year I choose a word that focuses what I want to achieve in the upcoming twelve months. Last year, it was CHANGE, the year before ENJOY and the one before that was CREATE.

My word for 2012 is HEAL.

I was frustrated in 2011 that many of my goals and objectives were thwarted by the one thing outside my ability to control - the fluctuations of my health. This made for a disappointing year, even though there were many great moments and achievements.

When I catalogue my health woes - when I first meet with a new health professional for example - I ruefully laugh that I still consider myself a "healthy" person, even as we work our way through the following list:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Spondylolethisis
  • Thyroid Cysts
  • Depression
  • Fainting episodes
  • Chronic back/neck/shoulder pain
  • Early signs of osteo arthritis
  • Peri-menopause
Perhaps my greatest frustration last year was that some of these conditions were aggravated to an extent that they impacted on my ability to participate in activities which I do to improve the conditions! So my regular yoga and aqua exercise classes fell by the wayside, due to pain and fatigue, at precisely the time I needed them most. As I moved less, my back problems increased their impact on my ability to move more and by the end of the year, I was investigating additional health services to stop the cycle.

So, you can see that this year I need to refocus on my health, prioritizing both self- and professional- care and taking a holistic approach to every aspect of mind, body and spirit.

Healing my body is priority number one. Please note, I am not saying "cure" as the majority of the above are chronic and (currently) without cure. However, all are improved with attention to diet, exercise and lifestyle. This means:
  • Continuing with my regular body-work therapies: chiropractic, myotherapy and, now, physiotherapy. 
  • Returning to my regular physical activities: yoga, aqua and walking. Continuing the pilates exercises with my physio and looking at a possible pilates class in the future.
  • Improving on my dietary changes: clean eating, wholefoods and conscious food choices and embracing others: I have consulted a naturopath who has reviewed my supplements and we are going to explore allergies and intolerances which may be factors. Continuing with the Radiant Goddess Course which I have mostly incorporated into my life on a permanent basis. Exploring the Jelinek MS diet and deciding if I can embrace this long-term.
  • Reviewing my mental health management: my GP has changed me to a new anti-depressant and I am currently looking for a counsellor to help me work through some issues. I also hope to use art journalling more to help with this. 
  • I have created an inspiration board on Pinterest to keep me on track, motivate and inspire me.
Along with my "team" who I seem to spend most of my non-working weekdays with - my Chriopractor Shady, Myotherapist Laurence, Physiotherapist Angela, Naturopath Jane, yoga teacher Julia, aqua teacher Jo and GP Jenny, my online support team on Facebook and in the blogosphere and IRL friends and family are a key part of my strategic plan, so feel free to nag me or praise me as required!!!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Breast Idea. Ever.

I just have to share with you the most wonderful, simple thing which has popped up on my Facebook Wall:
Now, if you - unlike me - don't spend your time helping women overcome breastfeeding challenges, then you will have no idea what this is for. here is Mel's explanation:

Do you know what a SNS is? If you do then you know how bulky and unattractive it can be. My sister is nursing her 3rd baby but needs the help of a SNS (supplimental nursing system) due to low milk supply. I created this SNS cowl just for
 her. It is a soft, attractive way to hold the SNS around her neck. Now she can nurse her baby discreetly and look down at just her beautiful baby without staring at the bottle and tubing.
And this is why hiding that bottle is so wonderful for mums:


Looks like this in use
And allows this kind of magic to happen

But in a world that has currently grown intolerant of breastfeeding itself in public view, it would be a brave woman indeed who would feed her baby with one of these openly in a food court!

So, BRAVO to Mel and her crocheted creations, may they bring happiness to adoptive mothers and women with chronic low supply and other complex feeding issues.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Decluttering 2012

It is entirely too hot here today to do ANYTHING more than wait for it to cool down, so instead of using my decluttering guides, I thought I would share them instead :)

(I always begin the year with the urge to clean out!)

Creating Your Goddess Haven: By far, the funest (I have been around young people too much!) way to declutter and make your home into a haven is with Goddess Leonie. Now - you do need to pay to use this one and although I am an affiliate and get a % if you do, I am still saying this is the best course, ever. But don't just buy this one course, because for just a little more, you can become a member of the Goddess Circle and get ALL the courses, plus heaps more. I promise, money well spent. much better spent than hitting to shops and buying "organisers" which just quickly become more clutter.

My Simpler Life Declutter & Organize Calendar: I have downloaded this and fully intend to use it, but also know i will not be using it every day, and that is absolutely okay!

52 Weeks @ Organizing Junkie: I started this last year and kept up for ages, but my health let me down and I lost heart. So I am going to start again and see if I can make it,

i Heart Organizing: not so much a program to guide you through the decluttering/organizing process, but the most wonderfully motivating photos to get you inspired to recreate her projects.You must do the home tour, because after the WOW factor, you will see she actually uses simple ideas you can use too. And have fun in the project gallery!

So what's happened to the 12 Days of Christmas?

On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... a box to pack the tree ornaments into???

Maybe it is just because we are all so connected now with Facebook et al, but it seems like lots of people are packing away Christmas just a tad earlier than they should be.

The 12 days of Christmas is not just a song, but refers to the time period between Christmas day and Epithany - also known as Twelfth Day/Night.  Despite what the shops will have us believe, the Christmas period begins on December 1st as Advent commences and it finishes on Epithany. So, even if you are not religous but merely like to keep to the traditions, your decorating begins when the Advent Calendar starts its countdown of 24 days and you keep your Christmas Tree up until the 12 Day, January 6th.

I well know the magic that turns your tree from glorious on Christmas Eve to clutter on Boxing Day, but tradition is tradition - even if none of it makes any sense in our climate (our poor tree today is facing 40 degrees Celcius more than a month after it left the Farm!)

I seemed to have ended up with a 12 Days theme this year, with these ornaments and this book added to our collection, so I just thought you might like to know :)
Heartwood Creek by Jim Shore

Merry 8th day of Christmas  - when my true love gave to me ... 8 Maids a Milking ...
How appropriate - she is my favourite of the set!
(Oh, and our Tree goes back to the Christmas Tree Farm where it came from, to be mulched and help next year's grow!)

Finally, another take on the traditional song lyrics -

12 Days of Christmas Correspondence

Dearest John:
I went to the door today and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. What a delightful gift. I couldn't have been more surprised.
With dearest love and affection, Agnes
December 15th
Dearest John:
Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine, two turtle doves.... I'm just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are just adorable.
All my love, Agnes
December 16th
Dear John:
Oh, aren't you the extravagant one! Now I must protest. I don't deserve such generosity. Three french hens. They are just darling but I must insist.... you're just too kind.
Love Agnes
December 17th
Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now really! They are beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough? You're being too romantic.
Affectionately, Agnes
December 18th
Dearest John:
What a surprise! Today the postman delivered five golden rings. One for each finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, John, all those squawking birds were beginning to get on my nerves.
All my love, Agnes
December 19th
Dear John:
When I opened the door there were actually six geese-a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. PLEASE STOP!
Cordially, Agnes
December 20th
What's with you and those birds???? Seven swans-a-swimming. What kind of joke is this? There's bird do-do all over the house and they never stop the racket. I'm a nervous wreck and I can't sleep all night. IT'S NOT FUNNY.......So stop with those birds.
Sincerely, Agnes
December 21st
OK Buster:
I think I prefer the birds. What am I going to do with eight maids-a-milking? It's not enough with all those birds and eight maids-a-milking, but they had to bring their own cows. There is poop all over the lawn and I can't move into my own house. Just lay off me. .
December 22nd
What are you? Some kind of sadist? Now there's nine pipers playing. And do they play! They never stopped chasing those maids since they got here yesterday morning. The cows are upset and are stepping all over those screeching birds. No wonder they screech. What am I going to do? The neighbors have started a petition to evict me. You'll get yours.
From Ag
December 23rd
You Creep!
Now there's ten ladies dancing - I don't know why I call them ladies. Now the cows can't sleep and they've got diarrhea. My living room is a river of poop. The commissioner of buildings has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building shouldn't be condemned. I'm sicking the police on you.
One who means it, Ag
December 24th
Listen Idiot:
What's with the eleven lords a-leaping? All 234 of the birds are dead. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten swine.
Your sworn enemy, Miss Agnes McCallister
December 25th (From the law offices Taeker, Spedar, and Baegar)
Dear Sir:
This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers fiddling, which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes McCallister. The destruction, of course, was total. All correspondence should come to our attention. If you should attempt to reach Miss McCallister at Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.
-Merry Christmas