Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alfresco living

Well, the bathroom renovation has begun.
Here's some 'before' shots.
Yesterday while I was at work the bathroom was gutted.
I called Stephanie at lunchtime to get a progress report and her exact words were "Oh. My Freakin. God - Mum, its amazing". LOL. She had been charged with taking photos of the progress, so some of these were taken by her.
It turns out that this was not the original bathroom as I had thought. There was green wet-area plaster uncovered under the tiles, so it must have been re-done in the early 1960s, when it was around 15 years old.
There were two burly young men, smashing and crashing, belting apart a very solid cast iron bath and wheelbarrowing it out to the skip.
By the time I got home they were removing rubble by the barrow load. The floors are covered and holding up ok so far.
The builder/plumber had plumbed us a new outdoor hot/cold shower on the external wall outside the laundry, so its alfresco freshening up for us for the next 2-3 weeks! Of course we also have the laundry and loo indoors.
This is where I had my shower this morning at 7am. It was light outside and 14 degrees. It was fun. Don talked to me through the laundry window.
It may get a bit old by the end, but we'll survive. (edited to add, in fact we are all enjoying it. Our son who is quite bohemian is very enthusiastic about standing naked in the backyard under the moonlight, and the cat was very curious last night to see Steph in the shower after swimming. She - the cat- walks on the wall and is most intrigued. I saw a plane fly over this morning!)Its quite private, but we've hung a few curtains anyway, just in case.
The skip is nearly full of rubble, but before we began it was half-full of black bags full of leaves!!!!!! Some scumbag neighbour had decided it would be appropriate to dump 11 bags of leaves in our waiting skip over the long weekend. Grrr. WHAT A NERVE!!!!! As I was standing next to it today with the plumber, discussing this crime someone set off down the lane on a bike (in all their wanky lycra) and grinned and waved. It was either a). The culprit rubbing it in, or b). someone I did know and would be happy to wave which case I hope their bike didn't actually develop a flat tyre, or their lycra shorts split down the ass seam while they were in heavy traffic (as that was what I was wishing them in the event that it was the culprit). Ahem. The young guys had to remove it all, because they are not allowed to have mixed rubble and green waste in the style of skip we have. Like they needed the extra work involved in that!
In other news...Look at what was safely delivered to my house yesterday! It is an original art piece in paint and paper made for me by Kel of Taurus Rising. It was her blogaversary about 6 weeks ago and I won my choice of prize. The choices included an art piece, so she custom made it for me. She framed it and everything! It has a cut up egg/oval shape with an eye/uterus/hidden chamber with an embryonic woman in it. It is most intriguing. (ooh, Kel has added a helpful comment explaining it better). It fits into a little niche for now - I promise I'll find somewhere better to hang it when I re-organize/curate the artwork soon. Where it is currently is a bit hard to photograph, but I wanted it up immediately and safely out of the way of the workmen, but somewhere I can look at it and absorb it. I keep finding new layers in it already. Thanks so much Kel!

And for my final trick...I've decided to have some creative fun next month (in my spare time) and attempt to take part in 'Every day in May'. Its some Flickr ya go . The concept's apparently been going for a few years...I may fail...but what the hey! Its a good excuse to get crafting more solidly again. I have a few projects planned and I'm sure the rest will evolve as the month unfolds.

But don't hold me to it....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The bathroom demolition doesn't start until Tuesday now.

That means we don't have a gaping hole and a useless bathroom in the house over the long weekend! Phew!

Had a long and tiring day at work today, but ultimately rewarding. A very nice baby, after a big, big effort. A catch for my student midwife even though it technically was a lift out vacuum. The consultant was really nice and just got the head barely out then brought the student midwife in and together we helped her to draw out her first baby, including delivering the placenta. She was stoked.

A job for everyone. Most days intimacy is the only way to go. Today many hands made light work. I don't often feel that way about birth in a hospital setting, but today I feel I made some good collaborative calls, following thorough assessments, and it was a good result. I held my ground on a few things and my position was respected, and invited collaboration when I needed a second opinion. No-one was over the top about anything, and it was really harmonious and positive, if a little more crowded than we originally planned, before things took their own path.

Contrast this with the birth I had a week ago in the birth centre where it was really intimate and private. The first time I have ever deliberately been solo with a woman at birth (there was another midwife outside the door ready to come in if assistance was called for, I only had to squeak). It was a big responsibility, for that first minute when I was waiting for the baby to establish some convincing breaths while I gently rubbed her and 'called her in'. All was well, as I knew it would be, but it was a small test, and A Big Moment for me.

And now a few days off for number fifty is just around the corner.

I love being a midwife.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Running, running

No, not on the Wii.

At work, at home, OMG bathroom reno starts in 2 days.

TWO days people!

Pest control, delivery of the bathroom suite stuff, working (having a lovely time, next baby is number 50!!!!!), being home to receive said stuff, kid coming home from 5 days away and to be picked up, lunch with girls, pack up the bathroom and prepare for 2-3 weeks of outdoor (with hot water) showers, go see Dylan Moran, swap shifts to go to stuff....

Its all go. Gotta love you and leave you...

Mwah x

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


What dog breed are you? I'm a Bulldog! Find out at
Apparently I'm a bulldog.... with the following qualities:

You may look like the troublemaker of the pack, but it turns out your tough guy mug is worse than its bite. You're really a softie, loyal to your friends and family and A-OK with meeting new pooches, but you prefer to do so with a high-five instead of a paw-shake. Proud of your great sense of humor, you've got a whole litter of jokes you draw from to keep the mood playful and the positive energy alive. A perfect afternoon for you involves a leisurely stroll with a pal, followed by a little downtime in an easy chair with a frosty can of brew and a remote control within easy fetching distance. You shed accusations of being lazy, knowing perfectly well that you're kenneling the energy you might need for... well... something.

Not bad, for a cat person.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wild times

Phew - where has the last week gone?

I am back on LBS now for a short time and it has been extremely absorbing. I've resuscitated two babies, one born at term and a bit stunned, and the other a prem following CS who had suffered placental abruption. I've cared for a succession of primips who have laboured with amazing strength and determination. All have achieved vaginal birth, one by the skin of her teeth - but she was the first of her sisters to do so - the rest have all had CS. She was rapt, and was sitting up in bed with a grin on her face when I saw her the next day. I helped her to attach her baby who went on well - it was also a first for the family as her sisters felt unable to breastfeed after their experiences.

We have all been moved by meeting a young woman earlier this week who birthed alone at home unexpectedly. She presented to us in a bit of a daze with a baby in her arms, and proceeded to become very unwell within hours and ended up needing extensive treatment for high blood pressure. I will never forget her or her lovely son. She was a pleasure to care for and we all felt very protective of her, and celebrated her birthday the next day with cake in intensive care!

I had a lovely birth last night at the end of the shift. Third baby, looked a bit dodgy on trace as she was overdue, induction, meconium - sailed out and was vigorous once we got all the cord off from around her neck and body! The woman laboured fantastically, only looked fussed for the last 10 minutes. A beautiful birth kneeling at the end of the bed, then jumped into her clean unused bed whereupon baby saddled up for a long feed immediately. Perfect.

I have done some compulsory in-service training, and had my performance appraisal - it felt like a big assignment I had due! I have yet to finish the quite extensive breastfeeding component but that will be done soon, once I have minutes out of the way again. I have even caught up with my mentee.

I have wrapped up my sessions with the counsellor for now. I feel I am in a good place but it was well worth seeing her for a while for a tune-up.

In addition to multiple work engagements there have been birthdays, and dinners and I am getting stirred by the thought of our upcoming travel and some creative pursuits.

It was my sister's birthday last Monday and she had requested a Wild Woman so I set to work to meet her request for a greenish one with surface detail. This is April.
My sister plans to put her in a box frame. (for the record, WW are all around 4 1/2 inches tall)

April is the latest in a series of WW I have been working on behind the scenes. This one has been a WIP for a while, but I'm fairly sure she is finished now. Her name is Magnon. I love her encrusted dome and translucent face, and earthy feet.

The next is a flibberty-gibbet. She's quite young I feel. Her name is Nymph, she tells me. She seems to be emerging from a sweet pea bud. I'm not sure yet if she is fully formed but she insisted on being photographed with the others nonetheless. I bow to her wishes.

For the last of my craft show and tell I introduce my Midwife Warrior. I made her about 3 years ago. She came to me in a meditation, similar to No More Plain Jane,(pictured towards the end of the post) in fact it was also on a journalling weekend.
In the meditation we were moving to a chakra spirit trance piece Did you realize I liked that sort of thing? I don't get to do it very often but I feel amazing when I do. Anyway...we were dancing with our eyes shut, feeling whatever it was that came, and I was swaying quite broadly, slowly, side to side. I had an image of being in a group and swaying in a square-like fashion facing the 4 winds in turn, protecting something behind me. I felt strong, solid and sheltering like an elephant. Once I had turned all ways, in a distant corner I had a sense of a woman dressed in white trailing robes billowing as if in a breeze. She felt strong and purposeful and immmensely wise. I breathed in her presence and absorbed such a feeling of calm connectedness. We were brought back to the room by the facilitator speaking quietly, urging us to move to our workspaces and to write or draw what came to us. Later that day we learned how to take a flat piece of cloth and shape it and bind it and wrap it and let it speak to us as it connected with or meditation. Mine became the woman in white.
She has ended up with a pregnant belly, and breasts. And is anatomically suggestive of a birthing woman. She has amethysts for wisdom and emotional healing. She has a patchwork papoose on her back to carry her babe. She has rose quartz and butterflies. She has bandolier style embellishments to guard herself and those she protects. She has flowing white robes. She has a carved bone elephant hanging from one arm. I've since found out that female elephants do stand in a circle with their backs to the labouring female to protect her from predators in all directions. Howzat?!!!! She has an ancient chinese coin to symbolise wisdom. She has a carved wooden owl for wisdom and a nursing symbol. She carries a beacon in her right hand because as a new midwife I was being 'passed the torch'. She is a warrior for midwifery, for women. One of her most poignant touches is the lighthouse charm around her neck - a friend brought it to be part of the art supplies that weekend, and it was then that I realised that I was the lighthouse. It was about me spilling light into the world. It was the perfect finishing touch to her.

So there you have it. I am feeling light-filled at the moment.
It is good to be in this place.

Happy Easter to you all.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wii are exercising

Who'd have thought?

I have always refused to buy a major game console for my family (hears pin drop in the shocked silence). No, truly.

They were just coming out when my kids were little and my son showed a w-a--a-ay too slavish a fascination with them. I was quite sure that if I allowed one in my house I would never see anything of him but the back of his head, and have to wait until a pause in the game to a. feed him b. dress him. c. take him to school d. do anything without involving a major WW3.

So I refused. We would rent one as a special treat for his birthday parties, for the weekend, with his mates all sleeping over and playing multiplayer games of role playing, bang-em-up, shoot-em-up, hedgehog racing, coin collecting, barrel smashing, sword fighting etc. Then it would go back to the shop and I wouldn't have to deal with it on a daily basis.

My Mum bought him a Game Boy when he was 11, but he never had very many games because it was all too expensive and I had a small anti-global-corporation protest thing going on (do you think I have made Nintendo think twice about their anti-discounting policies? No I thought not, moral superiority notwithstanding).

Anyway, my kids used the computer freely, and played their various PC games which were all similar in their levels of violence, but I felt I could turf them off at any time with ease, and set appropriate time limits, which they have always accepted. My son graduated from Warcraft to Magic the Gathering, which used his brain slightly more and is a pastime he enjoys to this day. Steff is still engrossed with HSM, Harry Potter and now Twilight, and is pretty slavish about her Sims on her own laptop. She also got a DS a year or so ago, and buys her own games. We went on quite happily, having reached a compromise about people's lives not being dominated by game consoles.

Until... someone's birthday present was a game console. They nearly died of shock! But all squealed with delight.

I caved and bought a Wii. Essentially for the Wii Fit (if I'm honest). I wanted an interactive non-couch potato game that gave some opportunity for Steff in particular to add some physical activity to her life. And I thought it may give me a chance to add some too.

The assessment was a bit galling, but I am surprised to find it estimates my age as only 4 years older than I am. My BMI is of course extreme. Steff's assessment is a bit shocking as hers puts her at my age! But her BMI is underweight. Patty and Don are also a little over their age, but not by much. It was funny to watch Patty try some upper body work last night - he piked out on the second repetition of ten, and the trainer noticed he had gone away, she tried to bring him back but he went to bed! Don tried it out this morning and is intrigued by the possibilities and the goal setting - I can tell.
And I'm enjoying it too! Some tasks are easier than I thought, and we nearly wet ourselves laughing when I scored 100 on a few tasks first up and was told I was no stranger to exercise! Snort!

I used to be a professional dancer. Seriously. I stopped dancing because I had rheumatoid arthritis/fibromyalgia and I couldn't stand the pain any more. And I was bored with being a 'dumb blonde' and wanted to go back to uni and use my brain. I studied, got married, had a kid, got a new body, tried to dance again but felt really self-conscious of my wobbly bits. Then I had a second child and had a very different life to focus on. Then in my thirties I took up belly dancing and was inspired all over again, but it was an expensive hobby, and quite competitive, and I had other priorities and gradually stopped performing. My weight went up and up. Then down, then up. I went back to uni to eventually become a midwife. In year 2 of 6 years at uni I hurt my back. I am 'not allowed' to dance again. My surgeon would have kittens! Not at this weight, he said. He didn't even want me nursing, but I told him it was not negotiable.

I miss the physicality of dancing. The strength and grace. The dressing up and performing. I still have the posture and balance (mostly) but I am keenly aware of the loss of flexibility and range of motion, especially over the last 6-7 years since the serious back injury and surgeries. The daily pain in most joints continues. I can barely reach my toes to do my toenails, much less lay my head on my knees as I used to with ease.

I joined the gym at work. My assessment there showed I still had some good core strength and balance, the trainer was very surprised that despite my high BMI I could balance easily on the yoga ball and was relaxed doing it. He set me some exercises to do that accounted for my crook back and shoulder, and knees, and hips, and then wished me luck. I still pay a minimal fee but haven't been for a year or more, I kinda lost interest being by myself. I was anticipating using it for the showers when our bathroom is being renovated!

With the Wii, its kind of interesting to have a 'personal' gym and trainer, and it is focused on encouragement. But I was surprised to find myself keen to do it again this morning, only 12 hours after my last session! I work up a sweat doing a range of activities, trying most things over 30 minutes. I'm only competing against myself, but I am already seeing how to improve my scores - it seems I am quite motivated by improvement - aren't we all?

So now we all have little icon people who attend daily training at the Wii Fit channel. Day 2 and counting. After all my objections and principles, wouldn't it be hilarious/ironic if this a game console could return me to some semblance of fitness, and be the start of a new phase?