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Showing posts from 2011

2011 - My Year in Review, In Photos

Being a news junkie, I've always loved those "Year in Review" shows the networks wheel out about now. This year's batch should be especially entertaining. It was a hell of a year for the world. And for me personally - what with all the moving and new jobs and babies and politics. Rather than bore you all with 1500 words about it all, here is my photographic year in review. January February March April May June July August September October November December Gratuitous cute kid pic - bye everyone and see you in 2012.

The Silly News Season

According to the fluorescent yellow banner on Channel 9 news, there's an "Asylum Seeker Crisis". Paying close attention so I know exactly how much to panic, I realise we've hit that time of year - the silly news season, where news room editors scramble to find any dross they can to fill the 24 hour news cycle over the Christmas period. Last week's sinking of an asylum seeker boat off the coast of Indonesia was a horrible tragedy, with a death toll that may never be known for sure but almost certainly in the hundreds. The news chiefs, however, must have been squealing with glee. What a chance to fill dead airtime, not with the stories of the men, women and children - people with families and hopes and dreams - who have perished, but by manufacturing a political "crisis" about the ever-menacing hoardes of illegals destined for our shores. What should have been the story of a humanitarian disaster deserving of the most somber and respectful reflection was

Reflections on Almost Four Months of Parenthood

When I was pregnant, I was so obsessed with reading about all the physical manifestations of the condition that I rather failed to pay enough attention to how things might be once BabyG was actually here. I laboured (pun intended, the only labour I experienced) under several misapprehensions, thinking I would finally figure out this problems of motherhood stuff that has plagued women for century. Amongst other embarrassing erroneous beliefs, I wondered... Why new parents moaned so much about lack of sleep when newborn babies slept twenty hours a day? I'd just sleep when the baby slept, every time. Problem solved! How on earth could newborn babies produce all the laundry everyone complained of? Their clothes are tiny. I figured most parents were just way too fussy about washing their kid's clothes every time they wore them. I wouldn't make that mistake. And why would a work-at-home parent need to put their kid in daycare? I'd get a bunch of writing and research done d

Outpost - Cockatoo Island

In recent years, I've become a big fan of street art, so I was thrilled to hear about Outpost, a massive street art exhibit held at one of my  favourite places , Cockatoo Island. Unfortunately I only heard about the thing three days before it closed - multiple visits would have been rewarding, especially without a young baby in tow - but I was fortunate enough to get along on a gorgeous Sydney spring afternoon, ferry strikes notwithstanding, and enjoyed it immensely; everywhere you turned was something new and exciting to see. Although not doing much justice to the show, here's a few pictures from Outpost I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoyed taking them.

A Letter from the Aspies to the World

Please understand that Asperger's Syndrome does not simply mean "anti-social". It's a lot more complicated than that, a form of high-functioning autism usually involving difficulties in social interaction and repetitive behaviour. Here are some things we'd like you to take into consideration when interacting with us - yes, we would like consideration, even if you sometimes feel you don't get it from us. Please don't draw attention to my "stimming", or self stimulation. I might be fiddling with my tie, or the hem of my skirt; twirling a piece of paper in my fingers; or flicking my fingers near my eyes. I might not even be aware I'm doing it and if you ask me what I'm doing or why, I'll be embarrassed. Please don't make jokes where you know it's a joke and I don't - otherwise known as pulling my leg and/or having me on. I often can't tell it's a joke. It doesn't mean I'm less intelligent than you, just that I

It's Not What You're Thinking

Disappointing as it was this week to hear of Father Chris Riley's support for Clubs Australia's fight against poker machine reform (I'm sure Father Riley, a man of unimpeachable moral character, was in no way swayed by any large donations made to his cause from such an organisation), it was truly disgusting, though not at all surprising, to hear of the plans of Sydney's newly-renamed Star Casino to increase revenue. According to the SMH the casino plans to target low income migrants seeking to acquire the good life through gambling, offering shuttle buses and promotions to lure in gamblers from low income areas with high migrant populations (and just how likely are recent immigrants to be able to access counselling services vaunted by clubs as the solution to problem gambling, hmm?). Clubs in the geographic areas targeted for busing are particularly peeved. Bankstown Sports Club, mentioned in the article, claims that unlike the greed of The Star, they plough their prof

The Truth About Babies

The opportunity to raise and nurture a child, to be alongside them and gently guide them as they introduce themselves to the world, develop, and grow, is a magical and sacred experience that reminds us all what life is really about. I'm still bored off my tits being home every day with BabyG, though. It's the truth that dare not speak its name: that a desperately wanted and so dearly loved child can be quite, quite dull. I love BabyG so much that sometimes I can cry just looking at him. It doesn't mean I don't get pretty fed up by about the third hour of making Mr Bun dance to "Take A Chance On Me" for BabyG's amusement while he whinges (BabyG whinges, not Mr Bun, although I'm sure if Mr Bun could talk he'd express reservations as well). Very poor conversationalist In the past few years I have done so much. I've tried my hand at roller derby and qualified as a youth worker and worked at more and less pleasant jobs and volunteered on election ca

I Am Not Mia Freedman

Dang. There I was thinking my blog title was so original and esoteric - but I keep being asked if this whole thing is a homage to Mia Freedman. Well, no. Ms Freedman's blog Mama Mia is a pun on her name (and the ABBA song), where she reflects on modern motherhood and society to her many fans - and detractors. She is the former editor of Australian Cosmo and it rather shows in her writing style. I don't dislike the blog, but I'm not a fan either, and have only visited once or twice. The thing never crossed my consciousness when naming this here blog you're reading now. Mamaenima has a slightly more complicated naming history. When I decided I wanted a new blog, rather than updating my old one to become the Xander and Nico and DH and Ruby and Gloom and Baby-to-be Pod (which would now be the Xander and Nico and DH and Ruby and Gloom Pod featuring Baby G), I needed a snazzy title to distinguish it from the thousands of other essentially similar mediocre blogs out there. M

An Old Man Wins Me Over On Same Sex Marriage

A sort-of historic day! (Partial) victory! A great moment for trying to have a bet each way...well it is the Labor party we're talking about here, who have today agreed at their national conference to change their official party policy to support of same sex marriage, and to allow a conscience vote in Parliament on the issue. The ALP doesn't normally allow independent voting - MPs must stick to the party line even, as John Faulkner pointed out, on votes to go to war - so for them to not require a vote on party lines here is very disappointing. In order for the issue to pass, it will require the Liberal party to allow a conscience vote, and then for enough Coalition MPs to vote in favour of the amendment to the Marriage Act. It could go either way. It's sobering to remember that due to John Howard's mean-spirited amendments to the Marriage Act, same sex marriage is not just not legal in Australia, it is expressly outlawed. Icky, isn't it? Some are calling for a refe

The World's Best Hotel

Caring for a small baby is a wondrous, magical experience that gives you lots and lots of time to watch an awful lot of crappy TV. Lately I've been passing the hours on the couch with BabyG by watching travel shows. Gosh those shows manage to make every place they go look glossy and appealing. Apart from anywhere with water, I'm particularly taken with the hotels - the ultra luxurious, beautifully equipped World's Best Hotels  that send the imagination into a spin. But somehow all of these are lacking something. I'm thinking of what, to me, would be the world's best hotel. Facilities would be clean and functional, but that's it. It's not why you're there. In the hotel of my (literal) dreams, all the rooms are thoroughly soundproofed. There are world class blackout screens. Fresh white sheets and a pillow menu (I can't be the only one who finds pillows in hotels too damn thick). Check out time is 10am - that's the earliest you're allowed to ch

How Can You Say You Love Australia If You Don't Know How It Works?

Yesterday saw the horrific fire at the Quakers Hill nursing home which has so far claimed the lives of five people. It was extremely hard to watch the news footage of the terrified, confused elderly residents who had lost their home, possessions and friends, struggling to comprehend what had happened to them. There certainly was a lot of graphic vision - evidently the TV news crews thought a compassionate telling of the story required them to shove cameras in the faces of the fire victims as they were loaded into ambulances, and I sure hope people are at least demanded to explain themselves for stripping these vulnerable people of their dignity at a time when they have precious little else left. At any rate, overnight a suspect has been charged with arson. It is difficult to comprehend that such horror could have been the result of a deliberate act, but people are reminding each other that we must not rush to judge, that the slow wheels of the legal system need to turn, that justice m

White Whining

The latest mock outrage making its way 'round the internet is the term "white whine". If one is in a privileged position - and on a global scale, having internet access and white skin is a position of privilege - than any complaints about the trivial matters of life are labelled as a white whine. Sure, most of these complaints are trivial. But does that mean we're not allowed to have them? This morning I got up, after a fitful few hours sleep with a ten week old baby, to discover our fridge seals have died, so the fridge door was essentially open all night and all the food inside went bad and had to be thrown away. Whilst I was cleaning it up and throwing out food we could financially have done without having to replace with a new baby, Christmas coming up, and a bunch of unforeseen expenses, BabyG added abundantly to the mess as only a baby can (I'm trying to be delicate), requiring a bath, change of clothes, and to scrub his bouncinette. And the ground coffee I&

Fighting Misogyny - What's Wrong With Men Call Me Things

When I first heard of the Men Call Me Things campaign on Twitter, I was deeply concerned. Not because I disagree with the aim of the campaign - feminist writers using the #mencallmethings exposing the vile misogynistic comments, including threats of rape and murder, they receive from pieces of distended monkey rectum who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet whilst calling themselves "men".  I was horrified at the sheer extent and nastiness (if that is not too mild a term) of the abuse that some of the victims, including Mel Tankard Reist, Emily Maguire, and Nina Funnel, have been subjected to. I am not denying for one second that there is an undertone of misogyny to much of our culture or that there is great structural inequality inherent in our society. It manifests in the most horrific way on the Internet in the cowards who hurl women-hating abuse at the women who dare to speak out about it. Given all that, I just can't help but wish that those involved in this wo

Why Retail Is Dying

Yesterday, I was attempting to purchase a breastfeeding bra when the sales assistant approached me and said "You look lost". "No, I'm not", I replied. "I'm simply trying to buy an attractive, yet supportive and comfortable feeding bra, something I would imagine there would be some demand for, and as stunning as it may be to you, the perplexed, dismayed look on my face is not one of astonishment at the breadth and complexity of your product range, therefore requiring the expertise and mastery of one such as yourself to gently guide me through it. It is sheer fucking frustration at your mediocre little range of maternity bras in this, purportedly Australia's largest lingerie retailer; annoyance that all you can offer are a few dull, unsupportive bras in a choice of beige or black only, and in a completely inadequate range of sizes - I'd make an educated guess that at least 40% women require a bra larger that what you have on offer. I guess stockin

Occupy Sydney: Why The Doubters Are Wrong

There's nothing worse than finding yourself on the same side of an issue as one of the right wing bile spewers you normally despise - certainly during the Bill Henson controversy was mortified to find myself agreeing with Miranda Devine. I guess safety in numbers would help, at least for many lefty types I know who have come out against the Occupy Sydney/Melbourne/Australia protests. It must be hard being on the same side as John Howard's stunt double Gerald Henderson, who applies his right wing touch to the protests. We'd expect that from the conservative chorus. But why are so many normally open minded progressive types in agreement? It's a partial agreement, to be fair. "I support the Occupy Wall Street protests" the line from the sneering hipsters runs, "But not Occupy Australian City. What have they got to complain about?" However, they've completely missed the point of the thing. One popular post doing the rounds (on Tumblr, no less) sum

The Greens - I'm With The Brand

You'd think someone of my political persuasion, being a Greens member and all, would be a nature lover. Nope. I can't stand nature. I'm a lady out of the concrete canyons. I hate dirt, trees, fresh air, and being away from wifi. And nature hates me back - look at all the dangerous things that happen to people woh go out in nature. There's an awful lot of weather out there, and you can get lost, and aren't "natural" disasters the worst sort? That said, I'm a pretty peaceful sort of person, so I wish no particular ill upon nature; I just think the best place for humans is in medium-density housing in the city, leaving nature well alone. So I'm not a tree hugger, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. I understand the need for a pristine natural environment, but it's not one of my main passions. And whilst I'm well aware that environmental protection is the Greens' raison d'etre, I was nonetheless surprised to read that, according

The Day of Unrest - Occupy Sydney

Apparently I'm part of the 99%. It's not often in my life I'm in the majority - I'm a socialist, after all, which can be a kind of lonely position. Seems though that all over the world, people are waking up to the gross economic injustice which has arisen as a result of free market capitalism, and they want to do something about it. The protest movement which began with The Indignants Movement in Madrid, and spawned Occupy Wall Street, is spreading across the globe, and yesterday it was Sydney's turn, as part of the global day of action. There have been plenty of knockers, and it's true that crowds were modest, but you have to start somewhere. I wonder how many of those sneering at the protest now would turn up if it continues and grows? In any case, I wanted to add my support, and have BabyG see something important even if he doesn't know it yet, so we went along for the afternoon. Was a little slow to kick off. It was a lovely day for it, anyway. Looking