Thursday, 23 June 2016

Four lizards, a sheep, a snake, three cats and a few dogs

This week I have been hired to help out with a pair of six month old twins. What the client wants is a nanny, though I was hired as a postpartum doula and it is reminding me of exactly why I am a doula and not a nanny. I don't have the stamina or dexterity that is needed for nannying but I am good at the encouraging, making cups of tea and offering perspective which are essential to postpartum support.

Anyways, the finer points of service industries aside, I was walking the wee charges round the block today in a vain attempt to get them to nap and as I walked past what I think is the only free-standing house in all of Alexandria there was a girl of about eight standing on the footpath.

"I know those babies.....they live in one of the the grey houses (she is right) ......Are you the mum? .....I know the other babysitter too"

"Do you live here?" I asked her "do you like it here?"

"It's like a farm, we have so many pets we have four lizards, a sheep, three cats and a few dogs. We used to have a goat....out the back yard"

Her smaller brother tried to show me his toy monkey but he was standing well back and her confidence overwhelmed proceedings a little.

I'm rather hoping that I might be asked to walk the twins again tomorrow and if I am I think I will take the same route

Sunday, 5 June 2016

A Stormy Day

I was at a hospital clinic a few weeks back, discussing my crazy anaemia with the doc. He was a good looking, articulate man who held my hand and turned up the charm when he noted that I have a rare disease and would I mind acting as an exam subject for upcoming specialist exams?
The prospect of losing an entire Sunday morning to multiple neuro exams barely passed my mind as I agreed just a tad breathlessly.
Today was the day. Sydney was in the middle of an enormous storm and rain was sheeting the yard as I headed out to the cab which had been sent for me. The driver dodged bits of tree on empty early roads.

So, after changing into a hospital gown and a considerable wait for rain delays, two examiners came to see me and then four examinees came one by one. The two male candidates were both confident and both passed. One woman seemed to me to do well but ultimately failed and the other, well it was a train wreck really. She stumbled once and persevered, at the next hiccup she looked disappointed, at the next her face registered that she was going to fail. From that point she crumpled visibly and I doubt she could have got anything right no matter how well she might have known her stuff.

I had to wonder about the huge gap between the genders that was visible in this case. Were the men better prepared? Did they happen to have better luck? Were the women held back by poor preparation? Lack of confidence? or compromised by family responsibilities?

With a sample size of four, I can't draw any conclusions whatsoever but I have to say that I thought I saw the glass ceiling in a way I never have before.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


After I arrive at playgroup every week, I take $10 from the cash box and take a short walk around the corner to see what I can buy for morning tea. The menu is not fixed but I seem to have evolved a system of serving fruit, something sweet, some crackers and cheese. There were crackers in the cupboard and parents bring fruit so I just had to figure out something sweet and choose some cheese.

There were all kinds of specials happening this week, including Greek Easter bread (tsoureki) at half price so I decided to grab some of that. A whole loaf of toastable sweet bread for about $2.50 would provide the sweet treat for the littles as well as something to go with cups of coffee for the grown-ups. It was a bargain I couldn't go past.

Then I saw a new (to me) product: Sesame and Sumac hommous. maybe it was the alliteration in the name or maybe it was the prospect of trying something with sumac but I decided to ditch the cheese idea and get the hommous instead.

One of the grandmas was very taken with the tsoureki and she turned to another grandma near by, asking her to try it. I knew that grandma number 2 had come to Australia from some European place a long time ago and there was a good chance she was already familiar with tsoureki. She graciously took a piece of the shop-bought bread and quietly told me that she makes her own every easter. It takes half a day. She impressed on me the name of the flavouring agent "mahlepi" and we chatted about the long process of raising and kneading the dough. It was a sweet moment of connection for me.

Several people wanted to know where to buy the bread and what was the dip that had the kids so keen to eat. It was a remarkable success, though I could have done without the many, many crumbs that seemed to multiply as they fell!