Saturday, 29 December 2007

New Zealand - part 3 - The Journey Home

So we left the rainbow gathering; I had 2 days to drive back to Christchurch and get to the flight, the plan was to stay the first night in Takaka (an hour from the rainbow carpark), then drive slowly down the east coast, stay a night in Kaikoura and then get to the airport in the morning.
Saying goodbye to the rainbow was hard,
50 With Emma
but Rapunzel will be back at our place in a month.
We had planned to camp with some of the rainbow people at a spot just out of Takaka, but in town I ran into the beautiful Angel, who was planning to stay in a hostel. it seemed like a great idea, and the hostel had a double room with a sofa for Littletree to sleep on.

There was a beautiful garden full of flowers, where we sat playing with Littletree and her big bag of M&Ms.
She spent the whole day sorting and re-sorting them, into colours, and then mixing the colours in different combinations.

First, Littletree sorted all the M&Ms into their colours, and pushed all the piles together to make what she called a "colour brain". Then she proceeded to pretend to be a kitten and eat them up off the floor.

57 MnMs Seq Eating
We had a great night's sleep in a soft warm bed, and it was, of course, nice to wake up to the beautiful Angel snuggling with me
59 Meta in the Morning
She even made me a fantastic breakfast!
65 Breakfast
We lazed around town for the morning, running into rainbows, before we finally hit the road, after lunch! (so much for an early start and a slow drive!)
We stopped at a supermarket, where I was excited to see this reserved space in the parking lot:
52 NZ Car Park
Seriously! that should be EVERYWHERE!
Littletree and I drove 6 hours, stopping several times on the way to play. At one beachside playground, we fed seagulls by had, they were flying so close! I could literally reach out and touch them! This pic was taken without zoom even:
71 Seagulls
more fantastic scenery later
77 scenery
we arrived in Kaikoura - a famous whale-watching resort town.
It took a bit of convincing to get a hostel that would let us check in for one night only on Christmas Eve, but we got a nice place, and hung out on the beach for a while.
82 Kaikoura
84 Kaikoura Flying
Christmas Morning we woke up early, packed the car and lounged around the kitchen for a leisurely breakfast. On the road again, we had time to spare, stopping a lot in small towns to have a quick play on the playgrounds, and to eat picnics - had to eat up all the fruit before getting back to Australia's quarantine.

We got into Christchurch in good time, but then spent ages driving around to find a petrol station to fill the car - everything was shut, being Xmas morning! We returned the car, but then had to walk the one kilometre to the airport terminal - a tough hike for Littletree.

Christchurch airport is awesome - they had comfy sofas instead of plastic seats, and a kids play area, and videos to watch in a free mini-theatre, as well as a TV for kids. The flight was long and boring, but we arrived safe and sound
87 Plane
With Purple to pick us up at the airport and bring us home :)

Friday, 28 December 2007

New Zealand - part 2 - The Rainbow

We got to the rainbow parking, only there was no one there, no cars, nothing. just a sign. We drove on, till we got to a flooded ford. I though, gosh, I've been here before! LOL Obviously, I couldn't pass the ford in my little car, it was more than knee deep and flowing fast, over a rocky bottom. Talked to the farmer who lived about 1km back, and he said there was nothing to do but wait till the rain stopped. which could be a few days.

I went back to the carpark, and hung out by the side of the road for a while. then a bee stung me. I'm allergic to bees. Last time I was stung was in africa, I had a bad reaction; swollen glands, difficulty breathing, the whole bit. I was rushed to hospital for shots of adrenaline and antihistamines, and told I should carry an EpiPen with me.

So I freaked out a little bit, being all alone with Littletree in the middle of nowhere. I get into the car, and shut the door. Took out the stinger, and took an antihistamine and some homeopathic apis and just sat in the car breathing carefully for a while. I was fine when the antihistamines kicked in, but my arm still swelled up.

Then another car came down the road, a Mexican guy looking for the rainbow. He thought maybe we could get through the ford in his car, so we transferred all our stuff and drove over. Only he couldnt drive through it.
17 Flood
We decided to camp in the parking meadow.

When we got back there, 3 vans full of hippies had arrived, and they were going to pile into a van to drive through the fords. So we drove out there again, packed into a red van. only they couldnt get through the ford either.

Then the farmer's son drove up in his 4WD ute. he agreed to drive all our packs in, and a couple of us who would fit in his cab. So Littletree and I got a lift in, crossing 3 fords, to the end of the road.

Then it was a 20 minute walk (which became 40 mins with all the luggage and Littletree) through driving rain and tall grass. We arrived to the rainbow soaked. Everyone at the gathering was huddled in one Yurt, where I left Littletree in the hands of Rapunzel (!) and dropped the backpack in a tipi before running back to get our other bags - I could carry all my bags in one go, but not while carrying Littletree at the same time.

By the time I got back, it was too late and too wet to set up our tent, and someone offered us to sleep in a big tent. One warm and dry night :)

The next morning, it was still raining
19 Tipis
Pretty much the whole gathering (about 30 people) stayed in the Yurt, which had room for about 20. We sat in there the whole day, it was very crowded, but fun. Though Littletree found it boring and miserable.
25 Yurt
I decided to bail out a bit; took Littletree and a lot of wet stuff back to the start of the track into the gathering, where there was a little NZ trampers hut. We started a fire in the fireplace and strung up everyone's wet clothes to dry. We had a really nice warm cosy night's sleep too :)
20 Hut
I thought long and hard about leaving. It didn't look like it would ever stop raining. And staying at the rainbow was pretty miserable for Littletree - being cooped up in a crowded yurt for hours, being unable to walk around (what was for me thigh high wet grass was face-high wet grass for her), no other kids...

Well, in the end I took us back into the gathering, and did a few trips to bring all our stuff (now dry) back in too. I set up our tent right next to the yurt and hoped for the best, thinking that I would leave if the weather didn't improve. The next day, the sun came out! :D
28 Yurt
39 The Gathering
We got out of our tents and basked in the burning sun. I did capoeira workshops and went down to swim in the freezing cold river
33 River
48 River
We had some clouds, but it didn't rain again; the gathering became fun and happy. Some kids arrived for Littletree to play with, we had long talking circles and fun workshops.
38 Circling
I fell for a sweet girl, we had sister circle, I got stung by another bee and had another reaction, we made wreaths out of grasses and wildflowers, and generally had a great time.
We did a lot of singing - the kiwi family is good like that :)
And learned some new songs; even some Maori rainbow songs.
Te aroha, te vaka pono, te maui a maui eh tatu tatu weh.
(forgive me if I transcribed that wrong ;) )

Then it was time to leave. :(
A group of people were all going out together, and it included a ride from the hut to my car, so I left with them. It was a hot sunny day and a couple of people came along to help me carry my stuff.
44 Bridge Out
We got to our car and off we drove...

Thursday, 27 December 2007

New Zealand - part 1; the way there

Our fantabulous trip to New Zealand started with the beautiful Rapunzel, who was staying with us for a while, deciding to go there herself. I saw how cheap the tickets were, I realised that there's very little chance of me getting to the Australian rainbow gathering in April, I hinted to Purple that maybe I could go with Littletree for just a short time...
and BANG! I got online and booked a ticket.

I started searching for bus timetables and prices, maps, hitchhiking options. Purple mentioned that when he had been in NZ, it was really cheap to hire a car, and since we would only be there for 10 days... well, it turned out to be only a little more expensive than taking buses, and much less hassle. Not to mention that it would save us hitchhiking. A search with my good buddy Google found me a car with Jucy, and a hostel booking in Christchurch. I just now realise that I never took a photo of the car. Oh well. It was a gold Daihatsu Sirion. Note to car buyers; this car was fine to rent, but don't buy one. It's got no guts whatsoever. Like driving a fridge on wheels.

We packed, I managed to stuff the backpack with way too much, but it all fit in anyway, weighing in at 22kg getting on the plane. Arriving into Chch at midnight, we hung around the airport a bit hoping to see J, who was flying in the same night, but in the end, tired and bored, we got a taxi to the hostel. It was freakishly expensive for a taxi ($46NZ!). The hostel was nice, and had hot showers and internet and comfy beds.

In the morning, the rental company came and picked us up and brought us to their office (back at the airport) to get the car. Then we hit the road.

First stop was a supermarket to get sandwich stuff, granola bars, juice... kid snacks. Littletree saw a pair of plastic princess shoes. awful things, but just her style. I ummed and ahhed for a bit, bit they were only $4.50NZ, and she knew the whole bit about how high-heels are bad for the body and dangerous to walk on. She promised that they'd be just for dress-ups. I figured; hey! she wants them, she'll soon see that she can't walk in them.
62 Princess Shoes
On the way we picked up a couple of Dutch Hitchhikers, who entertained Littletree and even played hide-and-seek with her when we stopped for a break.

My main impression of New Zealand was that its freakin beautiful. Lots of fantastic scenery.
14 scenery
02 scenery
04 scenery
Here's a shot of some of the very friendly locals
12 Sheep
These guys were pretty much everywhere.

The first night we got to Nelson, found a hostel, that was painted in funky shades of purple and blue, and took a room. We hung out in the roof patio chatting with the drunken backpackers. Littletree wowed them all, and not just because she'd travelled more than the rest of them :)

We hit the road again, stopped for lunch in Takaka, which seems like the Mullumbimby of NZ. Then we drove the last hour out to the rainbow.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Respecting Choices

My latest natural parenting article came up on Essence of Life today, It's about respecting children's choices, basically, how I came to buy Littletree Barbie dolls, which I already wrote about on the blog.
You can read the article here.
I really hope that someone reads it and gets the idea. Maybe one child will grow with respect.

Littletree just came home from the next-door neighbours' place crying. She said that N, her friend's mother, said that she's a naughty girl. Littletree told me that N doesn't know that girls aren't naughty and that she's a good girl all the time.

Well, of course, I agree with her, and of course she has to understand that different people do things in different ways. But I had to get to the bottom of it. After much querying, it transpires that the story is that N asked Littletree to put some rubbish in the bin. Littletree didn't do it, and after demanding several times that she do it, N proclaimed Littletree to be a "naughty girl" and sent her home.

On the surface, it seems like a perfectly reasonable request, and a perfectly reasonable expectation that the request be carried out, and perfectly reasonable to send the "naughty" kid home when she refuses.

When I probed deeper, I found out that there are two sides to this:
Littletree didn't know where the bin is in their kitchen, so when N told her to throw some rubbish away, she didn't know what to do, and was too shy to ask. When N kept demanding, getting angrier each time, Littletree got more and more upset, feeling bad that she didn't do "the right thing" in the first place, feeling worse that N was getting angry with her and then feeling awful when N denounced her as "Naughty".

Being only four years old, Littletree doesn't have the necessary experience or confidence to identify these cause and effect patterns, not to articulate herself in her defence. The more N told her off, the more she got on the defensive; just denying the request and getting upset. The more upset she got, the less articulate. The more she is told that she is "naughty" the more she will act that way.

In the end, I talked about it with Littletree, and all is well. If only N would understand this concept. But that seems doubtful :/

Meanwhile, I uploaded all our photos from New Zealand - 88 of them!!! Mostly its just pictures of beautiful scenery, but they can be found on my flickr page, a link to which is in the sidebar. Tomorrow I shall endeavour to write a long blog post about the trip.
Here's one to tide you over ;)
38 Circling

I'm Baaaaa-aaaaak

Greetings and Salutations!
Littletree and I got back from our wonderful NewZealand odyssey last night; which was wonderful and amazing!
I'm starting to upload photos now, and I will, of course, write a nice long post about the trip. But first I have a lot of unpacking to do, and about 100 new emails to dredge through.
Just wanted to say hi :)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Leaving the Land of Oz

Just for a little while.
Littletree and I are getting on a plane to New Zealand today :)
Short notice, I know, but it was somewhat spontaneous.
I decided to go to the rainbow gathering over there, even if just for a little bit.
I'm just chalking it up to an educational experience for Littletree; the ultimate kindergarten field trip. See, if I put her in school, she'd be missing out on a trip to the local saw mill, or museum of cattle farming, or something.

So we fly into Christchurch, get to the gathering as fast as we can, stay for a week or so, and then back to Chch, we fly home again on christmas day.
Since the flights were amazingly discounted on that day, and I personally don't have any fondness for the holiday.
So! I won't post till the end of the month, but I will definitely have a lot of photos when I get back :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Chappy Channukah!

We just lit the candles for the eighth day of Channukah.
Channukah 3
Littletree loves lighting the candles, of course.
Note the shiny new silver Channukiah (candelabra), which was sent to us by Purple's mother.
Perhaps in response to the first Channukiah we had as a family when we first moved to Tel Aviv; We stuck the candles on an old Commodore 64. According to Jewish law, the Channukiah can be anything, as long as the 8 candles all stand at a uniform height. The most common makeshift Channukiah being 8 beer bottle tops nailed to a board, or something preschoolers make with tinfoil.

Of course, we knew that having candles lit on a plastic surface is dangerous, and we took extra care to make sure the candles were put out when they got low. Until we didn't.

I came into the room to find flames leaping high. Thankfully, Jewish law also requires one to keep the Channukiah in the window, and it is generally raining in Israel in December. I just poured water over it and stuck it out on the window sill.
Naturally the whole apartment was filled with a thick black toxic smoke in seconds.

I was, however, clear-headed enough to quickly throw some sheets over all the furniture, shut the doors, open the windows and get myself and Littletree outside for a while.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of that happy event (probably because then I didn't have the wonderful teeny tiny digital camera that I have now) So you'll just have to make do with another nice shot of our new Channukiah, complete with rainbow pride candles :)
Channukah 5

Monday, 10 December 2007

Estrella the Hermit Crab

Littletree has been hassling for a pet for a while now. We've been getting books about animals out of the library, looking in the pet shop, and watching endless animal videos on youtube.
She really really really wants a pet. Of course, she wants a kitten most of all, and a bunny, and a puppy, and a fish, a mouse and a kitten...

We talked with her a lot about why we aren't getting a cat - because we live in a very small cottage in the bush, and there's a lot of birds and wildlife around that the cat would kill. Likewise a dog. there are wallabies and poterroos and koalas on our property. Not to mention that we often go travelling so we can't really make a commitment to a pet.

We talked about all the responsibility of having a pet; feeding grooming, litter/ cage maintenance, exercise, etc. And still she wanted one.

Since Dogs and Cats are out, and I don't want any mice, since we have enough trouble with rodents in the house as it is, we decided to get her a fish. Something small and low-maintenance. We figured; if it doesn't work out with a goldfish, then we can always put it into the pond by the pool.

So off to the Pet Shop we went, to check out how much a small tank and a couple of goldfish would cost. Lalala... We decided on the smallest tank they had; it was about 25cm x 12cm, and 2 goldfish and a little catfish to help keep the tank clean.


The phone rang, and the petshop woman went off for a few minutes. That's when we found the Hermit Crabs. Of course, it was Littletree's choice; we talked with her a bit about how to take care of it and what it will involve. But she was sold in the first second she saw the crabs.

Admittedly, it seems a little funny to be buying a crab from the pet shop when we can just go to the beach and catch one, but it was definately a lot cheaper than buying fish, what with the tank and accessories and whatnot. And much cooler ;)

Littletree named her Estrella
Estrella 5

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Smashing M & Ms

I was working on my computer yesterday, and overheard Littletree having a conversation with herself. She does that a lot; takes a bunch of objects, and roll-plays with them. So I turned around to see what she was playing with, and saw this:

Of course, by the time I got the camera out, she'd stopped talking with the M&Ms, but it was still a great unschooling moment.
I learned something; I didn't know that M&Ms taste better if you first crush them with a hammer.
I'm usre Littletree worked it out by experimentation all on her own; something I never would have thought of doing LOL

Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Real Reason We Don't Live in Israel

Littletree has been asking to go visit her grandparents and cousins in Israel. Sometimes she gets a bit homesick and wants to go back there.
She started asking why we don't stay in Israel, especially when she overheard Purple and I discussing the Osem debacle, I wrote about recently.

Well, there's lots of reasons;

I really need to live somewhere there's a lot of lush green, forests, water, trees. Now, there are some forests in Israel, but what they call "forest" in Israel, I'd call a "grove" or "stand of trees" or "pine plantation". Its a bit like sucking on old teabags when what you need is a strong coffee.

Also, I find the general attitude of the people to be infuriating at best. Now, don't get me wrong, there are many great Israelis, heck, I'm married to one, my daughter is one, I am one... and I'm generalising wildly, but there is a very prevalent attitude of "Klum lo kara" - nothing happened. There could be a suicide bomber just outside my home, killing six people, but the general response is 'nothing happened'. It's no big deal. Don't make a fuss.

And the attitude of "Ain mah laasot" nothing to do. Basically, the bureaucracy is nightmarish, one gets ripped off left, right and centre, taxi drivers are required by law to be homicidal (I have to assume), and oh so many annoying day-to-day little things. And the Israeli's answer: 'nothing you can do about it'. I can go into a supermarket, take an item that is marked 2 shekels, get to the checkout, be charged 3 sheckles. This should be no big deal; I should be able to say to the cashier, 'sorry, that's the wrong amount', and she'll say sorry and correct it, end of story. But no! She will first ignore me. Then argue with me about it. If I'm feeling strong, I can argue back. If I argue long enough, I might get the honour of arguing with the manager. If I argue with the manager long enough, I might be humoured in dragging the manager over to the service counter and debating it there, and maybe, eventually getting the item for the marked price. Israelis say "Ain mah laasot" and shrug.

I could go on for hours about the crappiness of living in Israel (relative to myself, of course; many fine people really love Israel).

But mostly, the REAL reason:

I personally can't handle living in a war zone. and not just any old war zone; one where the people are in total denial that there is a war going on. There are at least 27 armed soldiers on any street corner at any given time, there are pretty much constant conflicts, constant shelling and missiles, constant oppression, anger and bloodshed. And the Israelis just shrug.

They try to convince me that I'm more likely to be run over by a car than killed by a bomb. er, the terrible traffic is another reason not to live in Israel, but why stay somewhere that its likely at all?
They say "oh, there's bombs in other places! There was a terrorist attack in New York, one in London, in Madrid!" er, those were one-offs. they are rare and the whole nation, even the whole world was in shock afterward. In Israel, such things are daily occurences.
I say, they can never ever understand how it feels when one hasn't grown up being desensitised to that, and I would be deeply sad to think I had raised my daughter to be desensitised to war.

The final straw was this image which I saw in the news. I saw this and broke down.
I simply could not go on raising my daughter in a country where children are writing messages on missiles, to be sent to kill other children.
A country that doesn't have a problem with allowing children to be anywhere near missiles in the first place.

I can't do it. I can't live in a place where I can hear bombs going off from my own living room, where most of our nearest neighbours are vocally hating us and plotting to kill us all; to rain nuclear weapons down on us, where there is a sickening "fence" cutting the city, supposedly to keep people to "their own side", yet there are massive holes in it, so it's clearly just a tool of oppression, where almost every child goes into the army and learns to use a gun, a place where people are raised to hate.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Eight Random Things

I was tagged to do a meme by Lizz at Red Dirt Mother.
I didn't know what that is, but you learn something new every day.

Eight Random Things About Me:

*link to the person who tagged you
*post the rules
*name 8 things others don't know about you
*link to 8 other bloggers

Can I think of 8 things others dont know about me?

1) I've been in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Ethiopia, The Sudan, Egypt, Holland, Belgium, Israel, Cyprus, England, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvadore, Guatemala, Mexico, US, Canada, Turkey, Jordan and... well, that's all I can think of. I think that's all (in chronological order of first visit). Littletree has been in about half of them too :)

2) I almost never wear shoes, and all of my clothes are green, right down to the last sock (actually, all three of my socks). Most of those countries I travelled in barefoot.

3) I'm a lesbian, married to a man. long story.

4) I'm not really into the ocean. I dont dislike it in any way, I'm just not really interested in going to the beach. I'd much much rather be in a lush green forest with a sweet waterfall

3) I gave birth unassisted on a soccer field in Brazil

4) I can't count too well

5) I've been to 28 rainbow gatherings in the last 9 years.

6) I'm allergic to chocolate :(

7) I was a fruitarian for a year and a half

8) I love goats and I travelled around India with a baby goat for six months.

ok. that's at least eight LOL
next step was to link to 8 other bloggers. I already did Lizz, Inannamama, Greenlee, Hippychick, Jenn, Iyar, Mon, and Leon. Geez, that was hard.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Reason #451,986 Why We Don't Live in Israel

I just happened along this interesting little article, Osem Recalls Snacks With Lead-Tainted Toy Jewelry in the English version of Haaretz; one of the biggest newspapers in Israel.

The jist of it, is that Osem, Israel's largest snack-food company, made a promotion of putting a little plastic necklace in packets of their salty snack foods, Bissli, Bamba and Dubonim. Turns out (like pretty much everything that comes out of China lately), the necklaces contain 3.5 times the acceptable levels of lead.

The Israeli Ministry of Health standards director said "The danger is not immediate, like electrocution, but there is clear danger".
Yep; clear danger. Lead poisoning, in fact.

Of course, the CEO of Osem, Aviezer Kaplan didn't want to do a recall, saying "there was no point". In fact, "All the experts we checked with say there is no danger to public health."

How convenient that the "experts" the company checked with (and which experts might they be, I'd like to know) say there is no danger to public health. Yet, the Ministry of Health (whom would count pretty high amongst the list of experts, and are easily found in the Israel Yellow Pages, not to mention in direct contact with Aviezer Kaplan) gave a direct order that they toys be recalled.

So basically, though Osem has been ordered to recall the snacks, they're still on the shelves. All that Osem has so far done is run a small newspaper ad.

and yes, this is more-or-less acceptable to Israeli standards.

Seems that while the CEO of Osem may or may not care about the health of children in Israel (who happen to be his best customers), he is much more afraid of his boss, Nestle, who owns 50.1% of the company. Nestle, as we all know, don't have any issue with killing children in third world countries.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Little Blue Sky

We bought a new car!
Purple has been wanting to trade our wonderful yellow van , Sunshine, for something smaller, more economical, and with more seats for a while. Actually, he never wanted to get a van; he's a small-car guy.

Anyway, I saw a notice in the laundromat advertising an '85 Corolla Hatch for $600. Sounded like there must be something wrong with it, but there isn't. Its almost out of registration (in 5 weeks), but it has a roadworthy certificate. and most importantly, it handles amazingly :) Maybe I'm just too used to clunking around in our big heavy van, but jumping into this little car is so sweet.

She's a 5 speed, 1.6L, light blue. For a 22 year old car, she's pretty good. Only the paint is a bit crappy; somehow it looks like the colour of the sky in a big city. Still blue but a bit hazy and patchy LOL. Anyway, she uses a lot les petrol than Sunshine, which we are keeping, for now.

Littletree dubbed her: LittleBlueSky. I've no idea how she came up with that name ;)
Little Blue Sky

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Dr Tick ***Update*** scroll down

You may recall that I mentioned we left the party on saturday night because Littletree had a terrible ear ache in the night...

Well, its been tender the last couple of days, but she wont let me touch it or look at it. anyway, today, I happened to see her ear, and it was full of little spots of blood EEK!

I convinced her to let me have a look, and guess what I saw? this:
Ear Tick
Yep, that's a massive paralasys tick in my daughter's ear, and its all spotted with blood. It must have been there at least since Saturday. While freaking internally, I remained calm, and tried to get it out with a pair of tweezers. It's pretty tender, and she wouldn't let me near it.

We googled ticks, and read to her about them, and about lyme disease, and other stuff. We watched videos of ticks on YouTube. We tried to remove it again. no luck. Purple started suggesting that we should take her to the hospital. Well, I'm pretty against that, but I'll go if its really needed. I just dont want going to see a Dr to be our first option. for Purple, though, Dr is the first option every time.

Anyway... in the end, we decided to head for the hospy. Stupid idea, I guess I just needed someone to support me in my thought that we dont need to go. but, as usual, its me convincing Purple that we can handle it, and I just didn't have the energy. I didn't want to be responsible if she got sick from it. Whatever.

We got there, the nurse was really nice and really gentle. She let Littletree take her time, and talk about it and what not. Littletree held really still for her, and breathed through it as she tried to remove the tick. The nurse almost got it, but not quite, and by then Littletree had had enough, and it hurt too much for her to agree to further treatment. The nurse didn't want to try again, and we waited for the dr.

He showed up, was of course overworked and didn't have much time for us. He just wanted me to hold Littletree down so he could pull the tick out. She freaked out (of course) and he was all business and hurried and insensitive; he tried to get me to hold her down, and get Purple to hold her hands, and the nurse to hold her feet.

Of course, DD got hysterical. I stopped holding her and let her breathe for a bit. Then the Dr started talking to the nurse, mostly just ignoring us. He actually said (are you sitting down?) "Let's get a sheet to wrap her tightly in so she can't move, then you can hold her head hard so she can't get away, and I'll pull it out".

I looked at him and said "how would you treat an adult if they were resisting in this way?" he didn't really answer me, looked away and mumbled something about how an adult wouldn't in this situation. I didn't say to him what I wanted to, coz I had this thought in the back of my mind that I didnt want them to call DoCS (CPS) for us refusing her treatment.

We said we didn't want to traumatise her any more, and we'd take her home and try to do it when she's sleeping tonight, and got outta there quick smart! that fucking quack actually wanted to tie my daughter down while she was screaming hysterically as if he didn't realise she's a human being and has feelings.

Sigh, anyway, we waited till she was deeply asleep and tried to take it out again. No Still no luck; she woke up screaming. What to do. I'll keep trying.

so the next day, we still didn't manage to get it out, but not for want of trying, but I think I killed it in sone attempt in the evening.
The next morning, it was clearly dead, and turned into a slightly more accessable position. Littletree decided that since its dead, it wont hold on tight, and it would come out easily. I actually held her down for half a minute, but not violently so, and whipped it out, all oozing black goo.
so; its OUT!! :)
thanks to all the well-wishers

Monday, 19 November 2007

Focus Family!

We had a big weekend this week; I'm still recovering, really.
Friday we had a full day, bake a cake, library, rent to pay, post office, went to Byron to visit A+A, M and Z, I had an appointment, we lent the car to a friend, grocery shopping, and a housewarming party in the evening.

we decided to come home, I guess it wasn't so late, about 1am.

Saturday, we prepared to go to Foc's 40th birthday party. I baked an elaborate mud cake, while Purple went with Littletree to visit some friends up the road.

I also managed to do some work; I was asked to do a load of articles for Essence of Life this week.

Then we went to the party...

It was such a huge event. They had built a stage for live performers, and had a massive new tipi put up next to their regular one. Foc' and Nic' had done a Hungi - a traditional aboriginal way of cooking by digging a huge hole in the ground, filling it with hot coals and then food, and burying it.

The did two Hungis; one for a sheep, and one for veggies. The food was AWESOME! The whole party was awesome; I guess around 200 people came, and there were lots of kids running around, and great music, two bonfires and general good times.

I took a picture of the area before dark; before the party really kicked off, but you get the idea:

Focus Party 4
We had planned to sleep the night in the van, but at around 2am, Littletree woke up screaming, shrieking in pain with an earache :( and when we eventually got her calmed down, she just wanted to go home.

We got home at 3:30am, and of course, by then she was feeling fine and wide awake, wanting to play. I'm still recovering from that night!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Spin Movie and a Jumping Ant

Well, I was just about to post about this short film, which I found to be very entertaining...

but then this big, enormous, scarey ant crawled over the sofa!
Ant 1
yes. that is a real live ant. On a standard-sized playing card. On my sofa!!!!!


There is a nest of these ants in our veggie patch, they are aggressive, mean, nasty ants that jump pretty high. They bite with their mandibles and then sting you with their bum. its awful! But this is the biggest one I've seen.

Uranus Is A Planet

Lying in bed yesterday morning, Littletree asked me if Brazil is a planet.
I said, no Brazil is a country on the planet. Australia, Brazil, Israel, Germany... they're all countries on planet Earth.
Earth is a planet, Mars is a planet, Venus is a planet, Uranus is a planet...
Littletree interrupted me, touching her bum, "My Anus is a planet?"

I still can't stop laughing!

Meanwhile, Littletree is slowly getting over her fear of water; she went swimming in the deep part of the pool for the first time!
Of course, she had her floaty ring on, but she actually got off the steps! It was a big step for her (forgive the pun).

She's been wanting to get out into the pool for a while, mentally building up to it, but still fearful. well, she was swimming with the girl from next door, and asked me if I would hold her going into the pool. I didn't get in, but I took her hand and walked around the edge of the pool. She instantly cried, "no no!", but I kept pulling her, thinking I'd just 'test the water' a bit, and if she really seemed like freaking out, I'd pull her right out and comfort her.

I managed to walk her all the way around to the deep side of the pool, she was doing okay, hyper breathing a bit and frightened, but she seemed like she was moving through the emotion just fine. So when we got near to the deepest point, I just pointed it out to her that we were away from the steps.

She puffed and panted a bit, crying a bit, and suddenly she took a breath and said, "oh. I'm fine." then she looked around her self and started shouting "I'm fine! I'm fine!!" and she was. :)

After that she was swimming for about an hour before I dragged her out.
Swim seq
Swim seq2

Thursday, 8 November 2007

What To Do... What To Do?

I need to decide what I'm going to be doing next April.
Yep. me. the spontaneous traveller.

I need to choose between going to Israel for a month, going to the Australian Rainbow Gathering in Victoria, or attending a birth.

I had originally thought the rainbow gathering would be in March, and then we'd go to Israel for a month at Pessach (passover), and then to China in May. I'm definitely going to China no matter what. But then the Scouts decided to make the dates for the Victoria rainbow in April - starting exactly on Pessach. Crap. Then I met a woman who is pregnant and would like me to be her midwife, but she's due in mid April.

Well, of course, I really want to go to the rainbow. Technically, we could go to Israel after China, in June, though the weather will already be getting annoyingly hot by then, and I would really like to be there for Pessach, especially because it will mean a lot to Littletree's grandmother if we are there for the holidays.

I definitely want to attend the birth, though I can't plan anything, because you can never tell when a baby will be born. Especially first babies are generally after dates. though this is, of course due to the fact that the way they calculate due dates is grossly off. Average gestation for a first baby is 41.5 weeks, rather than the usually calculated 40, so of course lots of babies go 2 weeks over.

At first I thought, well, if I miss the Victoria Gathering, at least I'll still go to the New Zealand Rainbow, which is in January. but the very annoying Kiwis decided to make their gathering now, starting in the end of November and going till the end of December!

Anyway, I need to work out what we're doing so we can buy tickets. Crap.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

My Saviour

Well, I posted a few days ago about my dreadful virus...
Thanks muchly to all the people who contacted me with helpful hints.
I have definately learned a LOT more about computers :)

Anyway, the crisis is averted, my computer is clean and happy again.
I found the most amazing wonderful website with free tech support.
It's called which is a kind of school for tech support people.
There is a forum there, where you can send them in a description of your problem, and they guide you step-by-step through the removal process, and get the computer all cleaned up.

It was GREAT!
I had to download a software called HijackThis, which did some scan of my computer and created a log that the helpful folk at malwareremoval could read and understand. They got me to download some things, run some programs, even write a .bat file and run it.

The end result was that I no longer have a virus :)
and yes, I highly recommend these guys. Its like the computer version of breaking down on the highway and calling AAA to come save you.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A Party at My Place and Everyone's Invited.

My good friend Jah wanted to have a kangaroo barbecue this week, but didn't have a place to do it. So he casually suggested making it at my place, by the pool.
Well, I was okay with that, as long as I didn't have to do anything or organise or provide food. as long as it would be clear that its not *my* barbecue; it's just at my house.
I did agree to make cakes, and came up with this:

It was fine, except that lots of people arrived, but no one was very organised; they didn't have a proper barbecue, and didn't get it together to get wood for a fire.

There were lots of kids, and they were all splashing around in the pool while the adults pretended to look like they were making the barbecue.

It started to rain a bit, and no one got it together, so we all went into the house and they cooked on the gas. It was nice, lots of kangaroo, and bread and sauce, but only one salad; an orgasmic potato salad made by one very luscious mama. And the cake I made. I also made a banana spice cake with whipped cream cheese icing, but that wasn't nearly as exciting as the rich chocolate fudge cake :)

In the end, there were (I think) 12 adults and 7 children in our tiny little cottage! it got quite hectic and noisy.
Here's some of the chaos:
Party 2

until Tree cut the cake
Cake Jaman
and then everyone was too high on choc-coffee-rum-fudge icing LOL

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Crap! I have a Virus

My poor computer has a virus.
It's called Warezov CLA.
How did it get there? It infects Skype. One of my good friends send me an IM, I clicked on it.
of course, my friend didn't send it, the virus, which I assume is infecting her computer did.
I wasn't really paying attention (as usual, doing about 100 things at once).
So now I have this virus. My antivirus (Avast!) can't seem to get rid of it. Purple doesn't know what to do, we tried a few things...
Avast! pops up a window every few minutes that has a loud scary siren and a serious voice that says "Caution! A Virus has been detected" it's quite alarming.
and the little window says "There is no reason to panic" with some options to click.
Well, we're working on it. but in the meantime, don't click on links from Skype, and if you know anything about computers, I could really use some help.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

My Vege Patch

Our Garden is growing so beautifully lately; I've been doing a lot of work in it and the recent thunderstorms have it really blooming.
I've got heaps of Comfrey

Tomatoes all over the place

Papayas in abundance

Nastirtiums all around the fence

Lavender and herbs to my hearts content

And we've just put in carrots, silverbeet, spinach, pumpkins, capsicum, broccoli, salad greens, calendula, petunias, basil, sugarsnap peas and more...
There's still a lot of weeds
but slowly slowly I'm working on getting it all cleared and looking good. and anyway, I dont mind too much the weeds, coz its all about letting nature grow as it wants to; mother nature definately knows far better than I do. Besides, leaving the weeds provides more food for the bugs, so they eat less of my veges.