It’s a…

…recalcitrant brat.

Bloody umbilical cord wrapped as snug as a bug around the pink bits, despite over three hours of being poked with an ultrasound wand (not as bad as a pap smear, but still not very fun), with a full bladder (they need that to help see the baby).

So I had a wee hissy fit yesterday afternoon, until I heard from the vendors solicitor that they would like the documents from me asap. I decided that buying a house was more important than feeling sorry for myself, so drove to Strathfield to meet with young David.

I gave him the amended sewer diagram that the lovely Bex had procured for me, and also the “Standard Requisitions” (a list of questions about the property that the vendor has to answer, like “has the property ever been used as a meth lab” etc). Apparently they have already moved out, so I asked if they might consider an early settlement – and it looks like they might!

I then drove to Chatswood to return the new mobile phone I had picked up the day before (the Nokia 6300 doesn’t play nice with the mac, and lord knows when the iPhone will hit our shores). I’ve decied to swap it for the Sony Ericsson Z610i, which will play nicely with Blue Phone Elite (the software I use to avoid typing out long text messages on the tiny keypad, and manage other phone stuff).

No, I don’t need a new mobile phone, and yes, I am getting the pink one. Mark’s work was paying for his phone, so he had it switched over to their account. Now the new company is taking over, they won’t pay for the phone, so he’s had to switch the billing back to us. While doing so, he decided to switch my bill onto a cap plan, which entitles me to a new phone. Having only got a new phone about a year ago, I feel that this is needlessly indulgent, but at my heart I am a gadget freak, and it is beyond my powers to say no.

My Dress, My Image, My Choice

Mum sent me some information about this event coming to Sydney – we’re booked in for the Castle Hill event, there is also one in Randwick. Having no Mulism friends, and hardly any exposure to Islamic culture and customs, I thought this would be a great introduction – especially since we’ll soon be living in a suburb where there are Arabic signs on many of the shops, a good number of mosques, and women in hijab on the streets.

I must confess that I have felt negatively towards women in hijab, and have often wondered why they choose the oppressive garment. In trying to educate myself I have learned that most women choose to don the hijab of their own free will, and see it as a positive reinforcement of their spirituality.

I would guess that my negativity is not uncommon amongst non muslim Australians (of all backgrounds), and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to educate ourselves about our neighbours.


The event My Dress, My Image, My Choice promotes greater understanding of the Islamic dress code for women and provides an opportunity for Muslim and non- Muslim women to meet over a meal, get to know each other and enjoy a parade of Muslim fashions including casual, sports, evening and bridal outfits, said Saara Sabbagh Project Manager, My Dress My Image My Choice.

Many Muslim women have described incidences of harassment or open hostility from other non-Muslim women in the street, said Saara Sabbagh and as a result, My Dress, My Image, My Choice was developed in an effort to bridge the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim women.

The womens only event has been held in many areas in Melbourne as well as country Victoria and Adelaide. The feedback has always been extremely positive and we are thrilled that it has become so popular and that we have brought it to Sydney.

The event is free, and a scrumptious meal will be provided.

Two separate events will be held in Sydney. The first on Friday August 17th from 11am till 2.30pm at the Randwick Town Hall 30 Frances Street, Randwick.

The second on Sunday August 19th from 5pm-8.30pm at the Castle Grand, cnr Pennant and Castle streets, Castle Hill. For bookings please call Sharon on 0422 346 263. Please refer to the attachment for more details.

This project is managed by the Islamic Council of Victoria.

It is funded by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

For media interviews and enquiries please call Saara Sabbagh on 04331 31667

Open letter to Minister Mal Brough regarding the Indigenous Action Plan 26 June 2007

Dear all

Following is the text of an open letter sent to by ACOSS to Minister Mal Brough today regarding the Indigenous action plan. You will see a bit of media on this today. NCOSS is a signatory to the letter along with:

Patrick Dodson; Mick Dodson; Lowitja O’Donoghue; Jumbunna Learning Centre; ANTAR; Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation; Darwin Aboriginal and Islander Women’s Shelter; Amoonguna Health Service; Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation; Malabam Health Board; Central Australian Aboriginal; Alcohol Program Unit (CAAAPU); Darwin Community Legal Service Inc; Dawn House Inc; Foster Care NT; Central Australian Stolen Generations & Families Aboriginal Corporation; Tangentyere Council; Central Land Council; Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association; Institute for Aboriginal Development; Alice Springs Urban Housing; Central Australian Aboriginal Alcohol Program Unit; Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service; Arrernte Council; Footprints Forward; Lhere Artepe; Ingkerreke Outstations Resource Services; Central Australian Aboriginal Congress; National Indigenous Television Ltd; Institute for Aboriginal Development Alice Springs; Katherine West Aboriginal Health Board; Local Community Services Association; Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation; Mental Association of Central Australia; North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency; Northern Territory Shelter; Northern Territory Council of Social Service; Pintupi Homelands Health Service; ACOSS; ACT Council of Social Service; Anglicare Australia; Australian Institute of Welfare and Community Workers; Baptist Union of NSW; Canberra Rape Crisis Centre; CentreCare Western Australia; Congregational Federation of Australia and Aotearoa; Doctors Reform Society; Family Services Australia; Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth; Jobs Australia; Justice Action; National Association of Community Legal Centres; National Council of Churches in Australia; National Council of Single Mothers and their Children; National Shelter; National Welfare Rights Network; New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council; Oxfam Australia; SANE Australia; SNAIC; Victorian Council of Social Service; Uniting Care Australia; Uniting Church in Australia; Uniting Care Queensland; Western Australian Council of Social Service; Women With Disabilities Australia; YWCA of Canberra; Malabam Health Board; The National Indigenous Youth Movement of Australia; Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO); Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Association; Sharijn King;

“26 June 2007

Open letter to The Hon. Mal Brough MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
House of Representatives
Parliament House
ACT 2600

Dear Minister Brough

The undersigned organisations write this joint and open letter in order to convey our views on action required to stop the abuse of children in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, and our concerns about aspects of the Australian Government’s response to this problem as outlined in your statement of 21 June 2007.

The safety and well-being of Indigenous children is paramount. We welcome your commitment to tackling violence and abuse in certain Indigenous communities. We are deeply concerned at the severity and widespread nature of the problems of child sexual abuse and community breakdown in Indigenous communities in the NT, catalogued in the Little Children are Sacred Report.

We wish to work collaboratively with Governments and the communities affected to ensure that children are protected. We would like to see greater investment in the services that support Indigenous families and communities, the active involvement of these communities in finding solutions to these problems and greater Federal Government engagement in delivering basic health, housing and education services to remote communities.

There is general agreement among the communities affected, Governments and service providers and in the wider Australian community that urgent action is required to address the abuse and neglect of children and to assist those affected by it.

We note that the services which most Australians take for granted are often not delivered to remote Indigenous communities, including adequately resourced schools, health services, child protection and family support services, as well as police who are trained to deal with domestic violence in the communities affected. We endorse the call in the Little Children are Sacred Report for the Australian and Territory Governments to work together urgently to fill these gaps in services.

There is also a need for a longer term plan to address the underlying causes of the problem, including community breakdown, joblessness, overcrowding and low levels of education.

Successfully tackling these problems requires sustainable solutions, which must be worked out with the communities, not prescribed from Canberra.

We are committed to working with the Government to ensure that in developing and introducing the proposed measures, support is provided to Indigenous communities’ efforts to resolve these problems. The proposals go well beyond an ‘emergency response’, and will have profound effects on people’s incomes, land ownership, and their ability to decide the kind of medical treatment they receive. Some of the measures will weaken communities and families by taking from them the ability to make basic decisions about their lives, thus removing responsibility instead of empowering them.

In their present form the proposals miss the mark and are unlikely to be effective in their present form. There is an over-reliance on top-down and punitive measures, and insufficient indication that additional resources will be mobilised where they are urgently needed; to improve housing, child protection and domestic violence supports, schools, health services, alcohol and drug rehab programs. These issues have been raised by many Indigenous leaders over many years.

We offer our support to Indigenous communities and the Government in:
developing programs that will strengthen families and communities to empower them to confront the problems they face;
consulting adequately with the communities and NT Government, and community service, health and education providers;
developing a long term plan to address and resolve the causes of child abuse including joblessness, poor housing, education and commit the necessary resources to this.

Yours sincerely”


Michelle Burrell
Acting Director
66 Albion Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: 9211 2599, ext 107
Fx: 9281 1968
Mob: 0427 951 355

Howards new Tampa

I’m no expert on Aboriginal Affairs, but I do know that if our mighty leader sent a shitload of police to my place and started taking my beer away, I’d be pretty pissed off.

Please discuss.

And now, on to customer service. Yesterday, I had business to do with the Water Board, and I was really impressed with the standard of service I got on the phone. Apparently, the sewerage diagrams for our new house, and the house next door, are both marked as being the house next door. So the lovely woman on the other end of the phone got to the bottom of it really quickly, and today I expect to get the corrected diagram in the mail.

Thanks Bex!

Still got knots in the guts

We’ll probably have to wait another few days to get an answer from the Credit Union, and of course I’ve been a nervous wreck. Mark mentioned to a friend on the phone that we had signed the contracts, and I threw up a little in my mouth while driving. Sorry if that is a little too much information, but we’re all about reality at Chez DiscoKnitter.

Today, we decided to break from reality, and head up to the Blue Mountains, to crash a mini knit blogger meetup. We drove to Granville, left the car and caught the train up to Katoomba, where David met us for lunch at Niche Nosh – a highly recommended vegetarian cafe on the main drag.

Kate and Lucas met us there, and then we picked up Trudi for a superb hot chocolate – we whiled away a few very pleasant hours over hot beverages and clicking needles.

Thanks guys, it was a very welcome distraction!

We signed

With half an hour to go till the open for inspection, we signed the contract. There are a few anomalies, but hopefully nothing we can’t overcome.

We then went to the open, where quite a few people had shown up, and were very disappointed to hear that the house was off the market. In retrospect, we were thrilled that we had taken the risk of paying the deposit – we’re pretty sure that if we hadn’t paid the deposit then we would have been gazumped.

As Lien pointed out, there are no guarantees that the vendor and the agent will behave in an ethical manner, but after having a long chat with Theresa (the vendor), we were much calmer and happier about the whole situation.

The valuation was done early this morning, so we should have an answer back from the credit union by wednesday at the latest. So please keep everything crossed for us.

In the meantime, I think it’s safe to show you the house.

PS. Yesterday, we booked in to Hornsby Hospital. We chose to see the student midwife team, and I’m booked in for a doctors visit next wed, then friday I will have the 18-20 week ultrasound (I’ll be 19 weeks next friday). So by this time next week, we will hopefully know whether Ampersand is a boy or a girl, and where we’ll be living when he/she is born. Exciting times.

PPS. A huge thank you to David for all the advice and hand holding. We definitely felt a lot better about this after speaking to him!

House update

Alan from the Teachers Credit Union came around last night, and we filled in the paperwork to sign our lives away for the next 40 years. Yes – 40 years, not a typo…

And just after midday today, he rang to say that the loan was approved (provisionally of course).

The two provisions are a) that my parents sign a stat dec that they will give us $X when the time comes (Mark’s parents have already given us their contribution). And b) that the valuation comes back around the amount that we have offered for the house.

Part a won’t be a problem. We’ll have the stat dec on saturday night (having dinner with the family for Adam’s 40th birthday). Part b could.

Here’s the thing. The property is considered to be “Flood Affected” in both a 100 year and 20 year chance. Which might mean that the credit union won’t give us a cent to spend on that property. Or, they might take into account that the block slopes towards the back, and the house itself is much higher than the level of the land.

If that is taken into account, they’d probably find that although the backyard may get wet every 100 years, the chance of water coming into the house are very, very small.

There is an open house scheduled for saturday morning. Although we have had our offer accepted, and the Credit Union is willing to give us a huge amount of money, the owners could still accept a higher offer at any moment – unless we give them about $1000.

But if we give them the deposit, and the credit union knocks us back, chances are we won’t get the money back.

So we have to decide whether or not to make a $1000 gamble.

In good news, the building inspection went well. Ron, a builder mate of Bev & Ted’s gave the place a thorough going over, and reckons that it’s a good buy for the price. So I think we’ll take the chance.

Has anyone got…

…A copy of “Simple Knits for Cherished Babies“? I’ve always wanted this book, but haven’t ever felt justified in buying a copy. Now I have the justification, but the money is promised to a higher purpose (putting a decent roof over Ampersand’s head is probably more important than knitting the perfect cardigan, especially when we have already been given so many clothes!).

A sad but beautiful story

For a while now, I’ve been reading a blog called “Path to Freedom“, the journal of a family that lives almost 100% sustainably on a normal suburban block in the US. Today I read a post that made me cry (because let’s face it, everything makes me cry at the moment), and it might just enlighten one or two people that think that humans are superior to animals because animals “don’t feel emotions”.

Read the story of Leda and Lola here.