Sunday, June 30, 2013

Leaks but no whistle-blowing.

While the world watches news about Edward Snowdon, his bombshell revelations about US agencies spying on their own (which we kinda knew anyway) and his flight to Hong Kong and then refuge in Russia and whether what he did is technically whistle-blowing*... while all this is happening, we are dealing with an entirely different kind of leaking.

Dear Boy is a heavy wetter at night. He doesn't drink excessively or even drink a lot before bed but for some reason, 13 hours is way too much for his normal day nappies to handle (yeah, he sleeps through the night - mostly 7pm-7am - there's a post about this coming to a blog near you soon). This means every morning, there are wet pajamas, wet sleeping bags, wet sheets, and occasionally wet blankets. Even though it doesn't seem to wake him up, that's a lot of unnecessary washing and, call me crazy, but I'm not wild about the idea of him sleeping in puddles of urine.

Part of the issue is that Dear Boy is a side sleeper and nappies are only designed with absorbent material at the front and back (assuming, I guess, that babies are either back or tummy sleepers).

So a little while ago, we commenced Operation This Has Got To Stop.

This started with brand shifts.

Early on, we had a brief flirtation with Modern Cloth Nappies (MCNs) but they weren't for us. Essentially, from birth we were Huggies users. They were expensive (for us anyway) but we felt the quality was good and he never had a serious nappy rash. But then around six months, we started getting small damp patches around his hips. So we shifted up a size. But after a little while the patches reappeared and the next size up nappies were insanely large for our baby boy.

We shifted to a billion other brands. Same deal.

So we shifted to Aldi brand. Because we figured if the Boy was leaking through anyway, may as well only pay half as much. I used a cotton nappy cover (like a pair of thick waisted undies) to try and keep the nappy flat against his body but no luck. I bought some traditional plastic pilchers (the plastic pants we used to wear as babies over the old-fashioned folded cloth nappies). No luck. I tried a fluffy modern version. No luck.

There we remained with leaks on and off until a few months ago when it started becoming a serious problem.  Big leaks. Every. Bloody. Night.

That's when we started doubling up, first with a regular nappy, then a regular nappy backwards, then with a nappy pant over the top, then a backwards nappy pant. Each version would have a night or two of success before the leaks and mountains of washing continued. The nappy on top never seemed to be wet - if only we could put those suckers on sideways somehow.

It got to a point where I started using leftover maternity pads, sticking them to the inside of his nappy at the hip so he was padded front, back and sides. This works - of course it works - but it just seems so stupidly ridiculous that this is our only choice. Lady pads for my Dear Boy? Gah.

I searched for night-time specific nappies in all the supermarkets and baby stores - but most of these are training pants (designed to make kids feel wet so they get up and go to the loo) and in big kid sizes. I thought I had found success at Toys R Us with their extra absorbent Supreme nappies. It worked for a night. The next few nights not so much.

So now we've taken to the internets, and ordered samples of a variety of different nappies. Because most of these are American brands (hello, Pampers), we're trying to navigate both pounds and this weird 4, 4+, 5, 5+ system. So far 4 is definitely too small. And 4+ seems okay. They're definitely more absorbent and, for the first time, channel fluids towards the back of the nappy as well so it's not just full at the front. I think this is helping keep the leaks from the sides of the nappies.

If they work, we'll be ordering these suckers in bulk online from their Australian distributor. These nappies have a lot of air miles and I feel guilty about what impact that might be having on the environment - but I'm playing that off against the impact of so much washing on both the environment and my mental health.

If they don't work, our next step is to find a MCN booster that I can stick into his regular nappy - but one that doesn't leave him feeling wet and actually draws the moisture away from his skin.

Has anyone had a similar problem? Do you have an amazing night time nappy you'd recommend?

* Defined as exposing allegedly illegal or threatening activities through appropriate channels and only using the media when those channels are either corrupted or unavailable. Wikileaks is technically a venue of both leaking and whistleblowing for that reason - quite a lot of the stuff they published was to embarrass officials rather than make the public aware of illegal or threatening activities. Some of the information was given to Wikileaks because no other channels were available to expose the information and some was given to them just because the leakers wanted the biggest bang for their buck.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Holy package full of prizes, Batman!

I love packages. I love winning prizes. Receiving packages full of said prizes with extras thrown in is just awesome. Thanks to Ros at Sew Delicious, who hosted a Brauer giveaway, this collection arrived on our doorstep a few days ago. As well as the new range of Brauer Naturals Baby No Nasties products all topped with rubber ducks (which Dear Boy loves - that spotted duck is a particular favourite), we received all these other goodies as well.

I am in love... IN LOVE... with the Paw Paw All Natural Ointment, which smells divine and has been slathered all over my winter dry lips and Dear Boy's chapped cheeks. The Nappy Balm is also lovely on Dear Boy's bum. Unfortunately, he's obsessed with the pump bottles on the Baby Shampoo and the Baby Body and Bath Wash, so there tends to be quite a bit more of those in the tub than is required. Luckily they smell nice (although a bit intense in large doses) and he's not pumping a stack of petrochemicals onto his skin.

*Disclaimer* I received these products as a prize for winning a competition and was not in any way required by either Sew Delicious or Brauer to further promote or review them. I really DO love that Paw Paw All Natural Ointment.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Women the world over: a list of links

Last night I put the boy to bed, laying in the darkness of his room for half an hour. When I came out, blinking at the glare of the light from my laptop, we had a new Prime Minister. When I went into Dear Boy's room, I'm fairly sure we had Julia Gillard in power, the first female Prime Minister of Australia, and beleaguered since day one with a minority government and the most smarmy and misogynistic Opposition leader the country has ever seen. Not long after Kevin Rudd was back, the former Prime Minister who was ousted when his party claimed he'd lost his way, whose management style was autocratic and whose delivery had gone from young and approachable during his kevin07 campaign to incomprehensible geek.

It's been an interesting few days (weeks, months, years?) for women around the world - for women in power and women in the spotlight of celebrity and women under the lens of history. This list of links is about them, about us, about the things I've been reading and listening to about them and about us this month.
  1. This article comes within hours of the government leadership spill, an elegantly written piece about one of the toughest people in politics. Yes, JG lost last night’s vote but she has endured far more, and with more grace and dignity, than any Australian leader before her. The article is good, you should read it – but what impressed me most were the tone and quality of the comments. Maybe that’s because the readership of the Global Mail are primarily labor voters; maybe they’re better informed or more thoughtful. Who knows. But it’s nice to see the majority of comments on an opinion piece be reasonable and measured. 
  2. It’s a photo of the (now former) Prime Minister knitting. Let’s stone her. 
  3. This on trivialising women in power (after the 'big, red box' menu).
  4. And this Time photo essay on the brief history of women in power, just over fifty years worth - so yes, it's brief. It's also old so Julia Gillard doesn't get a mention.
  5. This beautiful filibuster by Texas Senator Wendy Davis over a women’s reproductive rights bill was inspiring. She stood and talked for almost 13 hours for something she believed in. She stood. She did not stand down. She ran out the clock on a bill that would've restricted legal access to abortion. Afterwards, the Republicans tried to screw the victory by retroactively changing the date on the bill. Nice try - the internets will screenshot you into submission if you try to mess with public data. 
  6. The photographs of Nigella Lawson being choked by her husband in a crowded restaurant didn't make me want to cry. The fact that no-one stepped in, no one stood up and said 'not on' brought on the angry tears - you know the ones? The wipe them away with your hand and insist you're not crying tears? The rail against the world falling apart tears? Yeah, those ones. 
  7. I watched this two part mini-series on the battles between the editors of Woman’s Day and New Idea, about how many times they put Princess Diana on a cover because she sold copies, and then the backlash when she died. It’s a brilliant series about starkly different women - the feisty and fierce Nene King and the graceful old school Dulcie Boling, women who sat at the table in the male-dominated publishing industry. The leading ladies are riveting and Rob Carlton who plays Kerry Packer is perfect in his gruff grotesqueness. Yes, the woman playing Nene is familiar (it’s Rhonda of 'kiss me, Ketut' fame). Now I want to track down this one too and watch Ita Buttrose kick some butt during the birth of Cleo magazine. 
  8. This is what I'm going to watch next (via Meet Me At Mike's). ITV have already commissioned a second season so there's promise of more to come.
 When I woke up this morning all the power was out. The house was cold and dark. I imagine that's how Julia Gillard felt at The Lodge this morning too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Triangle quilt: backed, batted, basted and ready for quilting

There's a quilt sandwich sitting on my desk and it looks so warm and toasty, I want it finished now. 

The quilt top was finished a little while ago and I deliberated and ummed and aahed for a while about the back piece and possible borders and binding. Finally decided on a feature panel for the back (pic to come soon) and plain black binding, no border. 

Basting has been my least favourite job so far, partly because it's so hard to sandwich three layers together without wrinkles in one of them; partly because my lack of stitiching uniformity has varied the sizes so the front and back and batting don't align perfectly; and partly because I can't find my safety pins and basting together a quilt this size with pins is hard (and painful). 

See, lack of uniform stitching = variable widths. Just ignore the dirty floor.

Now I just need to figure out what kind of quilting I'll be doing. I'm fond of stitching the ditch, cause it's fairly simple... but there's an awful lot of 'ditches' to stitch through here. Tempted to just quilt in short lines where the triangles meet, so the back will have small stars all over.

Decisions, decisions. 

Maybe if I hurry, Dear Boy will be able to snuggle up to his quilt before winter ends.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday Morning (631-640)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here. You'll need to search for the rest yourselves.

Sometimes I sit in front of Rage and write these posts as I listen, with Dear Boy reading books or playing trains at my feet. Other times, I've written song titles and lyrics on scraps of paper and collected them over a week or two. This is one of those weeks - songs I've heard in the car, on the TV, on Lovely Husband's computer, on TV ads and grand finales. 

631. Kat Edmonson - 'Lucky' - Another of Lovely Husband's lady voices that make me turn around and watch his computer over his shoulder.
632. Kat Edmonson - 'I Don't Know'
633. Passenger - 'Let Her Go' - Strange beautiful voice.
634. Passenger - 'Golden Leaves' - Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Although I had some weird flashbacks to Vitamin C from the intro.
635. Miley Cyrus - 'We Can't Stop' - Yeah, so, I watched this. It's an awful film clip. Little baby Miley playing at Rhianna. Blecch. But the song is actually...kinda... okay.
636. Janelle Monae feat. Erykah Badu - 'Q.U.E.E.N' - I come for the funk and stay for the wicked hair.
637. Charles Bradley - 'Strictly Reserved for You' - A little bit of soul, a little bit of funk and completely anachronistic. This guy needs to be played on a radio or a record player. But me and my boy still slide around the living room when it comes silky smooth from my laptop.
638. She & Him - 'I Could Have Been Your Girl' - I love me some Zooey. Her voice is the strangest thing but still gets me every time.
639. Laura Mvula - 'Green Garden' - The claps, the radio-saturated voice, the backing vocals, the lyrics. Love, love, love.
640. Thundercat - 'Walkin'' - Huh.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A rejoinder

I'd like to say 'it's that time of the semester' but normally this time of the semester is calm. If you teach subjects with exams, it's the calm before the storm of marking, but if not, it's calm. The students have had their final essays returned and can calculate their overall marks; they've sent their happy or pleading emails and you've replied to them. If you have a small class in first semester, you've already done the data entry, double checked the figures, and sent off the examiner's reports justifying your unusual distribution of grades. If you work in the office, the corridors are usually deserted of students, and your colleagues stand in doorways and talk. They debate and argue and talk to one another.

Now is actually the time when you get your work done, when you can write the papers and the presentations and the lectures that have sat on the backburner while you've been answering emails and handing students tissues because they just don't think they know how to do this. It's time to think of the big ideas, the new ideas, to trawl through databases and journal issues to see if someone else has beaten you there, to go out and collect the raw data, to find a new direction for your research.

...Or you've signed up to present two papers at a conference and the deadline for one of them got moved a week closer so the moderator can review your discussions.

...And you put in an application for research funds months ago and now the assessors' reports are back in your hands and what the hell is that guy talking about? And they give you two weeks and 5000 characters to respond and convince the college of experts or the committee of whomevers that either the assessors were right or they were wrong and to just give you the damn money already. Two weeks and 5000 characters to write your rejoinder.

I am currently rejoining.

I had to look up what the verb actually was.

This is what I'm doing instead of blogging.

Except for now, that is.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Product battle: Aldi xylophone v Fun Years xylo-piano

Somehow we have managed to accumulate two xylophones and, ever since, a product battle has been brewing. Will Dear Boy favour the wooden xylophone that we acquired as part of a set of instruments from Aldi? Or will he prefer the $3.99 weirdo plastic, flashing Fun Years xylo-piano that we found at the Salvos?

The Fun Years xylo-piano is weird. I repaired the battery terminal and the on/off switch thinking it was going to be a flashing musical extravaganza. But with four batteries in, all that happens is that strip of lights above flashes. A little bit. But what it lacks in 'sight and sound' it makes up for in sheer volume of plunky keys. Dear Boy loves how loud this gets. He can bash the piano keys and make the xylophone part crash or he can smack it with an official xylophone stick (or the wooden spoon) and make just as much noise.The little wooden xylophone isn't as noisy or as flash, but it's small enough that he can carry it around the house tap-tapping or bash-bashing as he goes. To my ears it has a far nicer sound, not to mention a sweeter, simpler aesthetic to mine sensitive eyes.So which xylophone reigns supreme?

For me, the Aldi xylo is the clear winner. But for Dear Boy, who is the Chairman Kaga of these product battles, I'm pretty sure we have to call this one a tie.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Degradation and shame

I'm feeling cranky so I'm getting on my soapbox. No pretty pictures, sorry. There are no pretty pictures to go with this post.

Is it a false gender war if politicians are acting like a complete bunch of horses-arses when it comes to 'women's issues'? Or if there's a culture of dissecting, abusing and shaming women not just in our national institutions but in the public more generally? Julia Gillard was recently accused of starting a false gender war, after suggesting that abortion law would become a 'political plaything of men' if Tony Abbott became Prime Minister... you know Tony Abbott, the guy who once said that abortion was an easy way out?

The next day Julia Gillard's Big Red Box was on the menu at a Liberal National Party fundraiser. And then the restaurateur apologed to Mal Brough, whose affair it was, rather than Julia Gillard. Eden Riley, over at Edenland, was fairly succinct about the whole thing with this post.

Then a radio jock asked the PM if her partner, Tim, is gay. You have the Prime Minister of Australia in your studio and this is where you decide to go? Like the PM said during the questioning: 'absurd'.

Now around 100 men in the army, some of them very high-ranking have been caught sharing photos and explicit stories about women they've slept with as well as digitally altering women's photos to degrade them. Lt-General David Morrison, the current head of the Australian Army, appeared on Radio National this morning, discussing these men's disrepect of  their women colleagues as well as women public servants and women of the general public (Oh, how I wish Lt-Gen Morrison was the model for a modern army culture).

Then there's the sandstone university colleges (breeding grounds for Liberal politicians I might add - Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey, I'm looking at you) where their richest and most privileged and most well connected start pro-rape, slut-shaming and all manner of ill-conceived Facebook pages and almost kill a woman (and get away pretty lightly, I might add), not to mention a long history of pro-rape back-slapping and "mateship".

Okay, this isn't just an Australian thing. Men in power the world over seem to be doing a bang-up job of being completely clueless about women and women's issues. An American (Republican, surprise!) congressman, for example, in voting against changes to abortion law stated that that the number of pregnancies resulting from rape is low (when it's approximately 5%). Let's not even go back to the other Republican congressman/senators who in previous years have discussed 'legitimate rape' and a woman's body being able to shut down during rape to prevent pregnancy.




I just...

I can't...

How could these people be so stupid?

Sitting alongside all of this is that fact that 90% of the men I know personally are nothing like these examples of men and twisted culture. They are beautifully sensible, respectful, and thoughtful individuals who have never needed degradation to act as evidence of their manhood. There are even some male politicians who fit under this category - even a Liberal one (or two or three maybe, but I can only think of one off the top of my head). So I'm feeling persnickety and more than a little confused.

Is all of this a false gender war? Or is it a real one? Is this just politics making idiots of politicians? Or is it bigger and more pervasive than just them?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Tricks 10/26: one mug, three ingredient and five minute chocolate crackles

After reading this quick and dirty recipe for homemade ice-magic topping, I was wondering about the possibilities of transforming another childhood favourite. A few minutes of experimenting and bam! Chocolate crackles!

The mug/teacup is pretty much for the party trick or the aesthetics, take your pick. It's just as easily done in a cereal bowl.

The ingredients:
1. Chocolate - I used dark chocolate bits (they're frosty in that picture up there, not white, I promise).
2. Coconut oil - with a ratio of 2:3 coconut oil to chocolate. Choose a good virgin coconut oil - otherwise you may as well use the original Copha (which is also coconut oil, but made less awesome with hydrogenation)
3. Puffed rice/rice bubbles - I needed about a cup for 2tsp of oil and 3tsp of chocolate. If you like a little hard puddle of chocolately goodness at the bottom of the crackle, then use less. If you want a loose crackle that doesn't stick together and is more like coco-pops, then use more.

Melt the chocolate and oil together. I stuck mine in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds for around one and a half minutes. If there are kids around, don't let them do this bit cause the mix can super-heat pretty quickly if you're not keeping an eye on it. 

Mix it all up. I am obviously not as delicate as my teacup.

I had enough for two chocolate crackles in big patty-cases, cause I'm a traditionalist like that. But I've also just stuck the mug straight in the fridge. Either works. 

Refrigerate for a minute or two until firm and voila! One mug, three ingredient and five minute chocolate crackles. They even taste just like the old fashioned variety: sweet from the chocolate; coconut-y from the oil. No need for extra sugar or desiccated coconut and no nasties depending on the chocolate, coconut oil and puffed rice you use. 

Dear Boy loved these but there's no need to let the kids know if you want a little treat for yourself.

Do you have an old-school favourite that you've transformed?

Knowing about the world: why my news consumption scares me

Have you ever thought about how you know about the world? I've been thinking about it recently, and about how that affects what I know and how I feel about it.

I don't really watch commercial/free-to-air television anymore. That's where I used to watch the news and catch the updates and any breaking stories. I occasionally flick to ABC News 24 but Dear Boy has learned to flick back to ABC 4 Kids. I only listen to the radio in the car, so I very rarely catch the news on the hour every hour. I don't read a physical paper anymore like I used to when I had long train commutes to work from the front cover to the back (okay - I didn't go all the way to the back - I've never read a sports section). Every few days I read ABC News online, looking at the main stories and scanning the headlines of the major sections.

But here's the thing - I scan. I select and choose what I'm going to read and learn more about.

I skip the car accidents, the house fires, the flooding, the earthquakes - essentially all the human misery stories because there's so much of it and I reach my saturation point pretty quickly these days. I skip Sport entirely and hardly ever read stories from the Business section. I click to the World news but hardly read more than the main stories - Korea talks, protests in Turkey, tougher Swiss asylum laws. I skip the bombings just about everywhere.

But this week I've been caught by twin stories where I wasn't enitrely sure why I clicked and read more, essentially why I cared more about those than the others. Both Nelson Mandela and David Attenborough are in hospital. Both are old, both are famous, both are men. Why does it matter to the world that they're sick and most likely close (or much closer) to dying? I've been thinking about the answer to that and the conclusion that I came to is both have been influential in different ways and become symbols for something much more than themselves. Neither are perfect but both men's imminent mortality offers a chance to reflect on issues that are important to humanity. Justice, duty, humility, hope, science, environmentalism, the interconnected-ness of natural systems.

They become the focal point of bigger, necessary discussions. And I want to be a part of those discussions.

But there are many, many discussions I am choosing not to know, to contribute to, through my selection of the news. I am choosing what I know. I'm not sure that makes me a good citizen.

As a former journalist, I'm probably more aware than the average person about just how constructed 'news' and our information on the world is. Anyone who reads the paper and internet, watches and listens to broadcast news, and even follows various news services in social media, has had their view of the world constructed. Journalists and editors have, firstly, chosen what they consider to be the news and rejected other stories in favour of them. Secondly, they have ordered the news according to a set of news values based on timeliness, proximity, frequency, impact, conflict, etc. Thirdly, their mode of delivery affects how they present that information - 30 seconds, 1 minutes, matched to available audio or pictures, half an hour, three column inches. Finally, they write the news according to their own subjectivities because as much as journalists strive for objectivity the words they choose to use, the order they put them in reflects their own ideas about the subject.

Layered on top of all of this is the reality of how journalists actually find the news. Ever thought about how they know about the world? News agencies deliver them world news, again pre-chosen, pre-prepared; they scan the emergency services waiting for crashes and fires and crimes (trust me, I've been there, wishing for ugliness to happen so I can fill a five minute bulletin); people call in information - politicians are especially good at this, pouncing on any occasion to call in and offer their opinion; and then there are press releases. Anything that isn't immediate, that isn't an accident is usually generated by a press release from an individual or organisation's press office. It's been planned and scanned and prepped and crafted and then sent out.

But you know what? News has pretty much been this way. Letters sent from overseas and delivered by boat, telegraphs, cables finally stretching across the Atlantic, radio, telephones, television, internet... all of it has meant journalists are delivering second hand news, and delivering it after the fact.

But now, quite a lot of us aren't consuming the news in the same way. We aren't taking in the whole bulletins or reading the whole paper. We're picking and choosing based on our own ideas of what's important. That's kinda scary because I know how much I want to shut out what is ugly. I know that most people seek out information from sources that just reinforce our existing opinions. When it comes to world, it's now more about what we want to know than what we need to know.

With the election coming up in September I am trying to take in a wider variety of information and sources. It won't change who I vote for (not that this matters much in my electorate, which seems to be the safest Liberal seat in the country, regardless of my views on the subject) but it'd be nice to know what the different sides are saying. Okay, maybe 'nice' isn't the right word.

What do you choose to know and choose to ignore about the world?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Leibster Award: Giving and receiving a little blog love

It was late on Saturday night and I was in my dressing gown. I'd done a row of stitching on Dear Boy's quilt; I'd watched Dumbledore's death scene in The Half Blood Prince and the opening scenes of Mr and Mrs Smith. I was heading towards bed with a book. Then I saw a little message in my 'comments' tab - Morgan from Me and My House had nominated Lilybett and Boy (that's me!) for a blogging award. Normally I am pretty happy with just receiving comments. But this little bit of love is a sweet few inches of icing on that cake. 

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers (although I've cheating just a smidge when I've nominated mine). So, what is a Liebster?  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Isn't that sweet? Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people to nominate and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!

11 Random Facts About Me:

1. I have won three blog competitions in the last three months. This is why a fluorescent Yoda is watching me as I type.
2. The last book I read was the first Jack Reacher novel and I kinda liked it. I'm saving the next two for a long-ish plane trip I'm taking in early July. I'm reading a SF series of Lovely Husband's in the mean time.
3. I have one tattoo that I got when I was 15. I wish I'd been a more inspired 15-year-old. Or at least a less impulsive 15 year old. I am thinking of getting another with an ancient Roman theme (related to Dear Boy's name) but in white. The high incidence of poor white tattoos, however, is not making me hurry.
4. I dream of singing in public. But I hate performing or being the centre of attention.
5. I am technically Doctor Lilybett. But not the kind of Doctor who can put up their hand if a flight assistant asks if there's a doctor on board. 
6. I would give up chocolate for the rest of my life if I could eat as much bread and cheese as I wanted without beginning to resemble a traditional wheel of Parmesan.
7. I bite my nails.
8. I love pretty much anything written by Aaron Sorkin: The West Wing; The American President; A Few Good Men; The Newsroom; Studio Sixty on the Sunset Strip, and to a lesser degree:
 Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network and Sports Night. I love that every first season finale episode is called 'What kind of day has it been'. I love the in-jokes and the way The West Wing cast have spoofed their 'walk and talk' style in several ads.

9. I got a speeding ticket last month. For going 5km over the speed limit. I know there's no such thing as 'safe speeding' but this makes me want to be a very bad citizen, tear the traffic infringement notice up and mail it back to them covered in in black sharpie swear words. I HATE that I had to BPay some place called Civic Compliance Victoria. 
10. I don't own any Apple products. I don't like them. Every single Mac I used at uni crashed (one even went up in a puff of blue smoke), even the brand new pretty pink ones. I will never, ever queue for a piece of technology. Unless it was life-saving technology and someone I loved needed their life saved... and we somehow lived in a post-apocalyptic society where Medicare was no longer functional.
11. Currently sitting on my desk: phone, stack of books (half read, half not), camera, broken Peppa Pig book, instruction leaflet for a Weight Watchers ProPoints calculator, sharpie, LED torch, two blank birthday cards, yesterday's shopping list, three blue biros, Dear Boy's quilt, two presents for a pregnant friend, Sherlock season 2 DVD, twenty cents, wooden xylophone stick, roll of wrapping paper, sticky tape dispenser, pair of Dear Boy's socks, Mothers Day Classic medal and a small white mountain of tissues Dear Boy pulled from their box and that I can't be arsed shoving back in.

Questions for me to answer:

1. Who inspires you the most?
- Normally when I read really sweet or interesting blogs, I feel inspired to be more prolific or creative in my own. Normally when I read about awesome women helping other women around the world, I feel in love with humanity. But I'm just not feeling it much at the moment. Need to kick my butt out of my post Blog Every Day in May funk.

2. What is your earliest memory?
- Playing on the floor at my Grandmother's house and my father coming in and telling us that we're going to the hospital to meet my new brother. I'm not sure if this is the earliest, but it's the earliest I can accurately date.

3. What is your worst habit?
- Satisficing.

4. Something you can't leave the house without?
- I used to think it was my keys, but I locked Dear Boy and myself out of the house a few weeks ago and we just went along our merry way until Lovely Husband came home. 

5. What is something your readers would be surprised to know about you?
I feel a bit addicted to watching birth shows/documentaries after having Dear Boy. I love the original One Born Every Minute, although the US version disturbs me because so many of the women are encouraged to go for the epidural and lay on their backs. I am also watching The Midwives and Don't Just Stand There, I'm Having Your Baby. It's a weird guilty pleasure even though I think about this while I watch them. It also seems I'll watch most medical documentaries/reality shows the UK puts out - anything with Michael Mosley, 24 Hours in Emergency, Junior Doctors: Your Life in Their Hands, Embarrassing Bodies... although that last one is the only one I ever catch on actual TV. The others I watch on SBS On Demand or ABC iview when the boy naps or during my lunch break at work. I just make sure I use my headphones so the women's screams and moans don't echo down the corridor. 

6. Your favourite food?
- My favourite are those bits and pieces mezze/antipasto/tapas style meals where you can pick and dip and choose. Throw in lots of crusty bread and things I can eat with my fingers and I'm in heaven. When we do it at home it consists of bread, olives, hummus, baba ganoush (although we've never found one as awesome as the one from our old IGA in Newcastle), grilled haloumi, slices of crisp chorizo or soft prosciutto, grilled capsicum/eggplant/zucchini, and maybe a green salad and something to do with potato.

7. A perfect night out...
- I feel like such an old lady but a perfect night out would probably be a homemade dinner with my extended family and then retiring to a luxury hotel suite all by myself and really living it up with a long bath with a book, and then a few star-fishes on the bed before sleeping undisturbed for the first night in a long, long time.

8. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
- If I could remove the civil and political and cultural issues that currently make it impossible for me to go there now, I would love to wander around the sites of ancient Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates (in modern day Iraq, and bits of Syria, Turkey and Iran) and ancient Persia, especially Persepolis (in modern day Iran). I want to see the origins of writing. Unfortunately, quite a lot of the cultural sites I want to see and that I studied in my Ancient History classes (and that my Ancient History teacher was fortunate enough to visit and photograph in all their glory) have been destroyed in the last few decades in various conflicts and for cultural/political reasons.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- The only thing I know for sure is that I'll be a mother of a school-aged Dear Boy, so I think I'll be doing school-gate drop-offs and pick-ups. A year or two ago, I gave myself five years to get an ongoing position in my current career. Given university funding is only getting worse, I suspect in five years time from now I will have just finished retraining to be/do something different. 

10. If your life were a musical, what song would you choose as your big solo?
- I would love to say something that would be big and ballsy and memorable like the 'Diamonds are a girls best friend' scene from Some Like It Hot or 'La Vie Boheme' from Rent. I'd even settle for a dive bar torch number like 'Miss Celie's Blues' in The Color Purple, but I suspect my own musical's solo would be something more daggy and uncool like 'Girl for all Seasons' from Grease 2 or 'Wonderful Day' from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

11. Your favourite blog?
- I'm not sure I have a single favourite, because I read lots of blogs for different reasons. I love the little snapshot of a life that Sash has created in Inked in Colour but I also love the way Maggie has translated Mighty Girl into bigger blogging communities and conferences of support and charity and hope. I admire most of the women who've made their blogs their living whether that's Dooce or Fat Mum Slim. I don't always feel blown away by every single post these women produce or always agree with their opinions on whatever topic they're discussed - but they all feel like people in my neighbourhood.

Questions for my nominees

1. How do you normally find new blogs to read?
2. What's your preferred leisure activity when you have a spare hour to yourself?
3. What's your guilty pleasure?
4. When and why did you start blogging?
5. What's in your handbag?
6. Name your three desert island albums or movies.
7. What philosophy do you live by?
8. Are you doing your dream job? If not, what is it?
9. Favourite item of clothing?
10. Favourite apps or programs for blogging/photography?
11. Describe your last 'aha' or 'forehead slap' moment.

My nominees (I'm cheating a little because some of these have over 200 followers)

Typically Red
Not Just a Mummy
Norfolk Exposure
Slapdash Mama
A Written Revolution
My Brown Paper Packages
Listen Sookie
Rubi Hoppen
Coal Valley View
Rock My Roll
Middle Class Mama's


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