Friday, February 29, 2008

what a difference a week makes

This time last week there was absolutely no guarantee that my beloved Rosie was going to make it through the night.

and today?

She's moving about with almost none of the hesitant stumble of a few days ago - almost - almost -steady on her pins and if you can believe it, has put on a wee bit of weight... the great hollows in her sides have almost disappeared.
Her eyes and gums are still white because the blood replacement stuff doesn't work over night but she looks much much better
so all those good thoughts that you guys sent must've done some good, eh?
She's not impressed with the B complex shots in the bum but otherwise all's well and I can look forward to some sleep tonight.

little happy dance here

oh and one last thing - I believe that I did mention that we'd had an unseasonable cold snap - hence the goat coats - well, it lasted all week, mild but nice days around the low 20s but cold clear nights which I got to experience first hand, and in honour of the very last day of Summer, last night's minimum temp was 4.5 degrees C and believe me, at 3am in a drafty goat shed, it certainly felt like it.
ETA Saturday morning 7am - well the thermometer says it's currently 4.1 and the overnight low was 3.1 BRRR

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Goat update - happy - and other stuff - also happy

Here's Ms Rosie today modeling the latest Summer fashions for the steadily recuperating and discerning goat:
We've had very cold nights so she still has to wear her Goat Coats ( old blankets ) until she puts a bit of mass back on.

the vet admitted today that he hadn't held out any hope of her making it through the weekend so I feel pretty good about her condition now, all things considered.
In other news I know how to give an intramuscular vitamin B12 injection to a largely muscle-less goat - although I ended up wearing some of the first one I gave her... and check out the name of the product in the box ... and you have to think phonetically

Also, in what was clearly a momentous day, I plied my first handspun yarn and it's currently 'resting' on the niddy noddy waiting for a bath tomorrow

I also skirted a couple of really really dirty fleeces that I've been given and I'm trying to work out if it's worth getting them cleaned and scoured - I mean these must've been the dirtiest sheep in history.
Sophie did her usual thing and got seriously silly on the lanolin pheromones in Shirley Sheep's fleece while ignoring the black fleece from Shirley's friend Shaun.
ETA a note for Janine C... if you ever need a few kilos of fleece to make up the 20 kg for that guy in Bendy, let me know, ok?
What else?

Helped my friendly spinning coach, Diane, with her Japanese quilt and did some last minute finishing on a class sample for tomorrow that should've been done a week ago but we all know why it wasn't, don't we?

and there was even time for a leisurely cup of chai with Robyn out on the verandah - glorious perfect morning, maggies and kookas caroling, a goat on the mend and a good friend to chat too.

and finally in the ' it only happens when the camera's in the back seat out of reach ' file: one small and gorgeous wallaby hopping across the street in the residential area when I was taking David in yesterday morning - Ray Street for those who know Castlemaine

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cautiously hopeful

Rosie is still hanging in there. Fighting me every inch of the way on drinking the electrolyte mixture, but I figure even that shows an improvement that she's got the energy to fight me.
Brenda next door helped me to get her up on her feet late yesterday and she stayed up - heart pounding furiously and every muscle trembling - but she stayed up for somewhere between five and ten minutes.
This gave us a chance to milk her and she took advantage of the pressure being off her bladder to do what needed doing. I don't know if all goats are the same but she'll poop lying down but won't or can't wee. SO between the boobage and the bladder, she was probably pretty glad to be up off the floor for a while.
I managed to get her up by myself this morning but she gave me a pained little cry when I tried it at lunchtime so Brenda-next-door [ hereinafter to be referred to as BND ] came over and we managed it again with the same result as before.
Sorry if those of a delicate and genteel nature find that too much info :]
Anyway this time she even managed a tiny wobbly step or two.
I'm allowing myself a little cautious optimism while simultaneously being terrified of what the blood test is going to show.

The last few days have been uncannily like having a newborn on two hourly feeds with two major addendums.
One - I am no longer as young and sprightly as I was when I actually HAD newborns to tend
Two - most newborns are in relative proximity to Mum - not halfway up the hill ! Basically what's happening is that, by the time I get back inside, I'm wide awake. Being the world's worst sleeper, I either am still awake two hours later, or just beginning to drift off.
On the other hand I've probably had more practice at muddling on while sleep deprived than most people.

Thanks for the continuing kind and positive thoughts ... I just love how these here internets work ... I was 'speaking' to the other Robbyn, the non-caprine Bostonian version, a few hours ago [ knitting Chat every Sunday lunchtime / Saturday night ] and the first thing out of her - well, I was going to write 'mouth' but - keyboard, was "How's Rosie?" Here's someone on the other side of the planet, that I have never met, who cares about my little family and vice versa.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rosie update

well she managed to make it through the night and doesn't seem to have lost any ground.
She's eating a bit and alert, just can't move herself.

Thanks for all the kind thoughts. I'm hanging in there. Stressed, tired, emotional and in need of some serious hugs, but hanging in there.
Nadie offered to jump in the car and drive up here but I don't want her going through what I am.
You know animals never cease to amaze me. Just when you think that you've figured them out, they do something to confound you.
Case in point:
Goats hate getting wet. Really really hate it... to the point where they will huddle in a complaining bunch under the meagre protection of the eaves, standing up all night, rather than sprint a few dozen yards to the dry goat house.
Last night it rained, and Rowan and Robbyn were shut out of their house [ Ruby was in there for company and because she would behave]
Rowan and Robbyn kept a drenched vigil against the side of the shed all night long, never moving more than five feet from Rosie's position.
who said goats are dumb animals?

Friday, February 22, 2008

my goaty girl isn't doing too well

Rosie hasn't been well lately and has gone rapidly downhill in the last 24 hours. She may not make it.
If I can get her through the next 2 days she may have a chance but we just don't know yet. Can't do bloodtests till Monday and until they've come back, the vet doesn't know what's causing her severe anemia, and muscle loss.
I'll be pouring electolytes into her every 2 hours over night and keeping fingers crossed... and in the ultimate irony she's hypothermic and the weather which has been scorching for weeks has turned into rain and I've had to bundle her up in old blankets.

I know that she's 'just a goat' but she's my girl

I'm not handling this very well at all. I'm feeling weepy and tearful and alone ... David's here but of course he doesn't understand and isn't able to comfort.

and btw - have you ever tried to move a 60kg animal that can't get up ?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

An 'interesting' day - with photos right at the end

Jeanette and I decided that today would be a good day to go over to Daylesford.
We were both free for a few hours, so why not?
I had some class samples and a requirements list for the Spa Quilters who meet there, every Thursday.
We both wanted to go to Purl's Palace and check up on Zoe and Andy [post massive spinal surgery]
and of course, the prospect of lunch at the Himalaya Bakery which isn't open on a Tuesday when we go over there for Purl's Princesses, our knitting group.
I had arranged to pick her up at 10 but when I got there, the new Avon lady was ensconced and talking the hind leg off a donkey - and given that I was vaccinated with a grammophone needle, you may take it that this lass is a MAJOR talker... pleasant, chirpy, but by Christ, could she talk!!
Anyway we eventually got underway about 11ish, had a pleasant half hour drive over to to Daylesford and our first stop at Purl's.
Zoe and Andy were in Melbourne for a post op checkup but we were looked after quite nicely by the lass who was holding the fort. By a mere whisker, I managed to avoid the trap set for me by a beautiful book on kimono silks but there's the distinct possibility that it will still manage to ambush me on a future visit. They're wiley like that.
Anyway, after buying a small something to be added to Beryl J's berfday goodies - and if you don't mind I won't show you just in case - off we trotted to the Holy Cross Hall - same place that Karen and I clog on a Monday night, to find ...
no one
locked up tighter than the proverbial drum
Yes folks, we had managed to choose the one Thursday probably for the whole year that they had decided to all go down to Melbourne for the Australian Quilt Convention.

lunch at the Himalaya was as nice as it always is. and vegan cupcakes were purchased for Ms Nadie's next visit and are currently ensconced in the freezer.
A quick troll through the Bargain Shop- cheap knickers for Dave and some incense sticks, and cards and bits and bobs for Jeanette, and we hopped back into la voiture for the trip back to Castlemaine. The scenery changes so dramatically over the course of those 50 km. I really never get tired of it.

basically we had a lovely day out but given that the whole reason for the visit was the class stuff ... oh well, ya just gotta laugh, right?

Now I believe that there is the unfinished business of some spinning to be addressed.
Unlike a certain Sheepish Annie who has been elevated to spinning deification through her ability to produce consistent laceweight yarn, I am currently at the stage of swinging madly from lace weight to super bulky, and from over spun to hardly spun, all in the space of a foot-and-a-half of thread.
If you're after lumpy, uneven, completely one of a kind, 'rustic' Border Leicester Cross yarn, well, look no further, I am SO your girl!
I believe that there was also a request for current goaty pictures?
Ruby and Rowan
Robbyn being an antisocial grump
and mama Rosie who is in Caprine Coventry because I'm still trying to wean Rowan.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Squishy Mail and then some!

I do believe I promised you spinning today
but then THIS was waiting for me at the Post Office this morning and I just KNEW you'd all want to see the goodies.In amongst the usual letters and bills was
a McCall's quilt mag from my '06 Christmas pressie from Linda.
Poor Linda spent a lot of time calling and emailing them about my sub which finally started showing up in June or July. I kept telling her it was ok but I know that she wasn't happy with their customer service. So long as I get the full year's worth of mags, it's cool.
Knit Picks circ from Donni
Gorgeous black fabric from Honeysuckle Patchwork for the Japanese crane quilt. One of my students had some with her last week and even though I thought that I had all the fabrics I needed for that quilt,it turned out that I was sooooooooo wrong - this just added a certain something.
I probably needed about 20 - 25 cm, so I rang up and ordered a metre [ as you would, right? ]
... and that's a kokeshi doll bought on ebay
then there was some yarn I needed to finish a hat that I'd swapped some Bendy cotton for
and a late Christmas/ birthday parcel from the other Linda [ Ohio Linda, sadly blogless ]
it contained two yards of this
and a pack of 19 x 1/4 yd cuts of 'feline fabric' - not sure why the pinks were considered cat fabric but who cares? that is almost 5 yards - or 4.3 metres !!! Linda almost always sends me fabrics that she doesn't think I'm likely to impulse buy for myself but that I will probably need to have in the stash for 'one day'
PLUS a McKenna Ryan pattern
It was almost too much to cope with, but the fabrics have all been patted, cat tested and washed - and I just realised that they're still out on the line at 9pm so I'd better go get 'em in - we actually have rain forecast.

Monday, February 18, 2008

where did last week go?

Dropped D off, had a quick coffee, headed out to Fryerstown for a dance class, home to do some goat wrangling, back into town to pick D up, a couple of hours knitting and then out again for the 100 km round trip to Daylesford for Clogging class and supermarketing after. Gotta love that the Daylesford Coles is open until 10 and stocks stuff the IGA here doesn't. It's nice and empty at 9pm as well. No strange people blocking the aisles and no out of control feral children
quilt class here between the trips into town to drop off and pick up the boy, goat wrangling, knitting, and then out for the slightly longer drive to Maiden Gully for Clogging again.
Three hours of high impact tap after a 'rather warm' summer day. Insane.
It was a rather weird day for me. The first time in Nadie's 26 years that we haven't spent it together... and yes I know that had to happen eventually but still, it felt odd.
I was supposed to be at quilt group but instead I had a fibro-induce-fall-in-a-heap day and only turned up to patchwork for the last half an hour to say hi. If you need an explanation for the tiredness, see above about tap classes.
oh yeah - well that was the day that my dear friend Corrie was coming up from Melbourne on the train for a one-on-one class. She has the trains timed to perfection. Dropped David off, picked her up 5 minutes later, quick detour for cappuccinos, back to mine for the day and then popped her back on the train after we picked David up [ and fitted in another coffee for her and Diet Coke Spiders for myself and the lad ]
Back to Fryerstown for Line Dancing, and I have absolutely no recollection of what I did with the rest of the day.
Left around lunchtime with David, to drive down to Melbourne. Requisite stop for Maccas at Calder Park - if he asks clearly, he gets!
Anyway got to Nadie's place around 3.3o and spent a couple of hours with her and The Boy who were keeping David company while I went to an opera recital with Corrie and her beloved. It was also an opportunity for David and myself to give DD her birthday pressies - a four man tent from me and blue stained glass candle holders from him - and a half finished skirt that I needed to try on her before going any further.
The recital was fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed myself but I'll leave it at that because I'm on overload.
Back by 10.30 to find Nadie in bed feeling seedy but not seedy enough to stop her heading off camping the next morning.
and finally Sunday - drove home around lunchtime after taking Nadie's Chris to work. Rest of the day spent cat and goat wrangling and doing absolutely NO HOUSEWORK AT ALL

So it's Monday now, and I've had The Lad home all day because he wouldn't get out of bed this morning.
Not surprising, after all he did have a big weekend too.
Obviously that meant I didn't go dancing this morning and now Karen has rung to say she's working tonight... which means no Daylesford. Somehow I think David and I are both glad to stay home.

So I spent my suddenly free day, goat wrangling, watching Torchwood DVDs , and finishing Nadie's skirt.

Not The Ogee Skirt
Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 8 ply [ dk or sport]
3.75mm hook [ American Boye F - a size that doesn't exist in Oz but Maz gave me this one ]

Nadie and I both love the Ogee Skirt from Interweave Knits but I couldn't handle the 8mm needles plus I didn't really have a suitable yarn in the stash to get gauge and I am trying to use stash wherever possible this year.
So I designed my own crochet version.
All it's got in common with the original is that they both wrap and would look great over jeans [ or bellydancing ]

Oh and do you know what else I did this week? Nearly forgot... I got back to my spinning and nearly filled two bobbins but I'll leave that for tomorrow cos I'm all tuckered out just writing all this down.

Friday, February 15, 2008

one of the stolen ones

In 1966 I started secondary school at a Girls' Grammar School in suburban Melbourne.
Not long after the start of year 7, the Headmistress came into our form room and told us that we would be getting a new student: a full blooded aboriginal, straight from the Missions of the Northern territory who had been 'adopted' by local Baptist missionaries.
We were given a talk about possible cultural differences and the need for understanding, and that was about it.
'Cecelia' was plonked down in the rarified atmosphere of our rather spartan, fairly joyless, academic establishment and left to get on with it. Occasionally she would take off for a few days and 'go walkabout' and the school was reasonably understanding about that in a slightly paternalistic, condescending way.

She and I weren't exactly friends, we hung with different crowds, so perhaps the girls who were close to her knew more about her personal history, but really, I think most of us just accepted that she'd been adopted and assumed that meant she was an orphan. I didn't ever ask because that would've been too personal
[ after all, I thought that her parents had passed away - you didn't ask about that sort of stuff ]
She was cheeky, irreverent, a bit of a scalliwag
I hadn't given her a thought in nearly 30 years

but that changed when the stories of the stolen generations began to surface, and I realised that in all probability she had been one of the last of those taken away from family and home... sent to live in the cold south with a white family, and a school with an overwhelmingly white, middle class, Protestant bias... and I didn't even know her 'real' name. Certainly the surname she was enrolled under was that of her adoptive parents, but was her first name even Cecelia? or had even that been a new addendum ? How did she feel about having her identity completely changed at a government's whim?
Who was left behind to mourn? mother? grandmother? sisters and brothers? I'll never know the grief she or they may have had to endure ...
but I'm sorry
for her and all the others like her

Thursday, February 14, 2008

the PM's speech

Okay so I'm a couple of days late posting this but:

On Tuesday , Saint Kevin's government proved that our faith in them was justified...

That today we honour the indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were stolen generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, indigenous and non-indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.
A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

There comes a time in the history of nations when their peoples must become fully reconciled to their past if they are to go forward with confidence to embrace their future.

Our nation, Australia, has reached such a time.

That is why the Parliament is today here assembled: to deal with this unfinished business of the nation, to remove a great stain from the nations soul and, in a true spirit of reconciliation, to open a new chapter in the history of this great land, Australia.

Last year I made a commitment to the Australian people that if we formed the next government of the Commonwealth we would in Parliament say sorry to the stolen generations.

Today I honour that commitment.

I said we would do so early in the life of the new Parliament.
Again, today I honour that commitment by doing so at the commencement of this the 42nd parliament of the Commonwealth.

Because the time has come, well and truly come, for all peoples of our great country, for all citizens of our great commonwealth, for all Australians - those who are indigenous and those who are not - to come together to reconcile and together build a new future for our nation.

Some have asked, Why apologise?

Let me begin to answer by telling the Parliament just a little of one person's story - an elegant, eloquent and wonderful woman in her 80s, full of life, full of funny stories, despite what has happened in her life's journey, a woman who has travelled a long way to be with us today, a member of the stolen generation who shared some of her story with me when
I called around to see her just a few days ago.

Nanna Nungala Fejo, as she prefers to be called, was born in the late 1920s.

She remembers her earliest childhood days living with her family and her community in a bush camp just outside Tennant Creek.

She remembers the love and the warmth and the kinship of those days long ago, including traditional dancing around the camp fire at night.

She loved the dancing. She remembers once getting into strife when, as a four-year-old girl, she insisted on dancing with the male tribal elders rather than just sitting and watching the men, as the girls were supposed to do.

But then, sometime around 1932, when she was about four, she remembers the coming of the welfare men.

Her family had feared that day and had dug holes in the creek bank where the children could run and hide.

What they had not expected was that the white welfare men did not come alone. They brought a truck, two white men and an Aboriginal stockman on horseback cracking his stockwhip.

The kids were found; they ran for their mothers, screaming, but they could not get away. They were herded and piled onto the back of the truck.

Tears flowing, her mum tried clinging to the sides of the truck as her children were taken away to the Bungalow in Alice, all in the name of protection.

A few years later, government policy changed. Now the children would be handed over to the missions to be cared for by the churches. But which church would care for them?

The kids were simply told to line up in three lines. Nanna Fejo and her sister stood in the middle line, her older brother and cousin on her left. Those on the left were told that they had become Catholics, those in the middle Methodists and those on the right Church of England.

That is how the complex questions of post-reformation theology were resolved in the Australian outback in the 1930s. It was as crude as that.

She and her sister were sent to a Methodist mission on Goulburn Island and then Croker Island. Her Catholic brother was sent to work at a cattle station and her cousin to a Catholic mission.

Nanna Fejo's family had been broken up for a second time. She stayed at the mission until after the war, when she was allowed to leave for a prearranged job as a domestic in Darwin. She was 16. Nanna Fejo never saw her mum again.

After she left the mission, her brother let her know that her mum had died years before, a broken woman fretting for the children that had literally been ripped away from her.

I asked Nanna Fejo what she would have me say today about her story. She thought for a few moments then said that what I should say today was that ''all mothers are important''.

And she added: ''Families - keeping them together is very important. It's a good thing that you are surrounded by love and that love is passed down the generations. That's what gives you happiness.''

As I left, later on, Nanna Fejo took one of my staff aside, wanting to make sure that I was not too hard on the Aboriginal stockman who had hunted those kids down all those years ago.

The stockman had found her again decades later, this time himself to say, sorry. And remarkably, extraordinarily, she had forgiven him.

Nanna Fejo's is just one story. There are thousands, tens of thousands of them: stories of forced separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their mums and dads over the better part of a century.

Some of these stories are graphically told in Bringing Them Home, the report commissioned in 1995 by Prime Minister Keating and received in 1997 by Prime Minister Howard.

There is something terribly primal about these firsthand accounts. The pain is searing; it screams from the pages. The hurt, the humiliation, the degradation and the sheer brutality of the act of physically separating a mother from her children is a deep assault on our senses and on our most elemental humanity.

These stories cry out to be heard; they cry out for an apology.

Instead, from the nation's Parliament there has been a stony, stubborn and deafening silence for more than a decade; a view that somehow we, the Parliament, should suspend our most basic instincts of what is right and what is wrong; a view that, instead, we should look for any pretext to push this great wrong to one side, to leave it languishing with the
historians, the academics and the cultural warriors, as if the stolen generations are little more than an interesting sociological phenomenon.

But the stolen generations are not intellectual curiosities. They are human beings, human beings who have been damaged deeply by the decisions of parliaments and governments. But, as of today, the time for denial, the time for delay, has at last come to an end.

The nation is demanding of its political leadership to take us forward.
Decency, human decency, universal human decency, demands that the nation now step forward to right an historical wrong. That is what we are doing in this place today.

But should there still be doubts as to why we must now act, let the Parliament reflect for a moment on the following facts: that, between 1910 and 1970, between 10 and 30% of indigenous children were forcibly taken from their mothers and fathers; that, as a result, up to 50,000 children were forcibly taken from their families; that this was the product
of the deliberate, calculated policies of the state as reflected in the explicit powers given to them under statute; that this policy was taken to such extremes by some in administrative authority that the forced extractions of children of so-called mixed lineage were seen as part of a broader policy of dealing with the problem of the Aboriginal population.

One of the most notorious examples of this approach was from the Northern Territory Protector of Natives, who stated: ''Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation, all native characteristics of the Australian Aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our half-castes'' - to quote the protector - ''will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white''.

The Western Australian Protector of Natives expressed not dissimilar views, expounding them at length in Canberra in 1937 at the first national conference on indigenous affairs that brought together the Commonwealth and state protectors of natives.

These are uncomfortable things to be brought out into the light. They are not pleasant. They are profoundly disturbing.

But we must acknowledge these facts if we are to deal once and for all with the argument that the policy of generic forced separation was somehow well motivated, justified by its historical context and, as a result, unworthy of any apology today.

Then we come to the argument of intergenerational responsibility, also used by some to argue against giving an apology today.

But let us remember the fact that the forced removal of Aboriginal children was happening as late as the early 1970s.

The 1970s is not exactly a point in remote antiquity. There are still serving members of this Parliament who were first elected to this place in the early 1970s.

It is well within the adult memory span of many of us.

The uncomfortable truth for us all is that the parliaments of the nation, individually and collectively, enacted statutes and delegated authority under those statutes that made the forced removal of children on racial grounds fully lawful.

There is a further reason for an apology as well: it is that reconciliation is in fact an expression of a core value of our nation - and that value is a fair go for all.

There is a deep and abiding belief in the Australian community that, for the stolen generations, there was no fair go at all.

There is a pretty basic Aussie belief that says that it is time to put right this most outrageous of wrongs.

It is for these reasons, quite apart from concerns of fundamental human decency, that the governments and parliaments of this nation must make this apology - because, put simply, the laws that our parliaments enacted made the stolen generations possible.

We, the parliaments of the nation, are ultimately responsible, not those who gave effect to our laws. And the problem lay with the laws themselves.

As has been said of settler societies elsewhere, we are the bearers of many blessings from our ancestors; therefore we must also be the bearer of their burdens as well.

Therefore, for our nation, the course of action is clear: that is, to deal now with what has become one of the darkest chapters in Australia's history.

In doing so, we are doing more than contending with the facts, the evidence and the often rancorous public debate.

In doing so, we are also wrestling with our own soul.

This is not, as some would argue, a black-armband view of history; it is just the truth: the cold, confronting, uncomfortable truth - facing it, dealing with it, moving on from it.

Until we fully confront that truth, there will always be a shadow hanging over us and our future as a fully united and fully reconciled people.

It is time to reconcile. It is time to recognise the injustices of the past. It is time to say sorry. It is time to move forward together.

To the stolen generations, I say the following: as Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry.

On behalf of the Government of Australia, I am sorry.

On behalf of the Parliament of Australia, I am sorry.

I offer you this apology without qualification.

We apologise for the hurt, the pain and suffering that we, the parliament, have caused you by the laws that previous parliaments have enacted.

We apologise for the indignity, the degradation and the humiliation these laws embodied.

We offer this apology to the mothers, the fathers, the brothers, the sisters, the families and the communities whose lives were ripped apart by the actions of successive governments under successive parliaments.

In making this apology, I would also like to speak personally to the members of the stolen generations and their families: to those here today, so many of you; to those listening across the nation - from Yuendumu, in the central west of the Northern Territory, to Yabara, in North Queensland, and to Pitjantjatjara in South Australia.

I know that, in offering this apology on behalf of the Government and the Parliament, there is nothing I can say today that can take away the pain you have suffered personally.

Whatever words I speak today, I cannot undo that.

Words alone are not that powerful; grief is a very personal thing.
I ask those non-indigenous Australians listening today who may not fully understand why what we are doing is so important to imagine for a moment that this had happened to you.

I say to honourable members here present: imagine if this had happened to us. Imagine the crippling effect. Imagine how hard it would be to forgive.

My proposal is this: if the apology we extend today is accepted in the spirit of reconciliation, in which it is offered, we can today resolve together that there be a new beginning for Australia.

And it is to such a new beginning that I believe the nation is now calling us.
Australians are a passionate lot. We are also a very practical lot.

For us, symbolism is important but, unless the great symbolism of reconciliation is accompanied by an even greater substance, it is little more than a clanging gong.

It is not sentiment that makes history; it is our actions that make history.
Today's apology, however inadequate, is aimed at righting past wrongs.
It is also aimed at building a bridge between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians - a bridge based on a real respect rather than a thinly veiled contempt.

Our challenge for the future is to cross that bridge and, in so doing, to embrace a new partnership between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians - to embrace, as part of that partnership, expanded Link-up and other critical services to help the stolen generations to trace their families if at all possible and to provide dignity to their lives.

But the core of this partnership for the future is to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians on life expectancy, educational achievement and employment opportunities.

This new partnership on closing the gap will set concrete targets for the future: within a decade to halve the widening gap in literacy, numeracy and employment outcomes and opportunities for indigenous Australians, within a decade to halve the appalling gap in infant mortality rates between indigenous and non-indigenous children and, within a generation,
to close the equally appalling 17-year life gap between indigenous and non-indigenous in overall life expectancy.

The truth is: a business as usual approach towards indigenous Australians is not working.

Most old approaches are not working.

We need a new beginning, a new beginning which contains real measures of policy success or policy failure; a new beginning, a new partnership, on closing the gap with sufficient flexibility not to insist on a one-size-fits-all approach for each of the hundreds of remote and regional indigenous communities across the country but instead allowing flexible,
tailored, local approaches to achieve commonly-agreed national objectives that lie at the core of our proposed new partnership; a new beginning that draws intelligently on the experiences of new policy settings across the nation.

However, unless we as a Parliament set a destination for the nation, we have no clear point to guide our policy, our programs or our purpose; we have no centralised organising principle.

Let us resolve today to begin with the little children, a fitting place to start on this day of apology for the stolen generations.

Let us resolve over the next five years to have every indigenous four-year-old in a remote Aboriginal community enrolled in and attending a proper early childhood education centre or opportunity and engaged in proper pre-literacy and pre-numeracy programs.

Let us resolve to build new educational opportunities for these little ones, year by year, step by step, following the completion of their crucial pre-school year.

Let us resolve to use this systematic approach to build future educational opportunities for indigenous children to provide proper primary and preventive health care for the same children, to begin the task of rolling back the obscenity that we find today in infant mortality rates in remote indigenous communities up to four times higher than in other

None of this will be easy. Most of it will be hard, very hard. But none of it is impossible, and all of it is achievable with clear goals, clear thinking, and by placing an absolute premium on respect, cooperation and mutual responsibility as the guiding principles of this new partnership on closing the gap.

The mood of the nation is for reconciliation now, between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. The mood of the nation on indigenous policy and politics is now very simple.

The nation is calling on us, the politicians, to move beyond our infantile bickering, our point-scoring and our mindlessly partisan politics and to elevate this one core area of national responsibility to a rare position beyond the partisan divide.

Surely this is the unfulfilled spirit of the 1967 referendum. Surely, at least from this day forward, we should give it a go.

Let me take this one step further and take what some may see as a piece of political posturing and make a practical proposal to the opposition on this day, the first full sitting day of the new Parliament.

I said before the election that the nation needed a kind of war cabinet on parts of indigenous policy, because the challenges are too great and the consequences are too great to allow it all to become a political football, as it has been so often in the past.

I therefore propose a joint policy commission, to be led by the Leader of the Opposition and me, with a mandate to develop and implement, to begin with, an effective housing strategy for remote communities over the next five years.

It will be consistent with the Government's policy framework, a new partnership for closing the gap. If this commission operates well, I then propose that it work on the further task of constitutional recognition of the first Australians, consistent with the longstanding platform commitments of my party and the pre-election position of the opposition.

This would probably be desirable in any event because, unless such a proposition were absolutely bipartisan, it would fail at a referendum. As I have said before, the time has come for new approaches to enduring problems.

Working constructively together on such defined projects would, I believe, meet with the support of the nation. It is time for fresh ideas to fashion the nation's future.

Mr Speaker, today the Parliament has come together to right a great wrong. We have come together to deal with the past so that we might fully embrace the future. We have had sufficient audacity of faith to advance a pathway to that future, with arms extended rather than with fists still clenched.

So let us seize the day. Let it not become a moment of mere sentimental reflection.

Let us take it with both hands and allow this day, this day of national reconciliation, to become one of those rare moments in which we might just be able to transform the way in which the nation thinks about itself, whereby the injustice administered to the stolen generations in the name of these, our parliaments, causes all of us to reappraise, at the deepest
level of our beliefs, the real possibility of reconciliation writ large: reconciliation across all indigenous Australia; reconciliation across the entire history of the often bloody encounter between those who emerged from the Dreamtime a thousand generations ago and those who, like me, came across the seas only yesterday; reconciliation which opens up whole new possibilities for the future.

It is for the nation to bring the first two centuries of our settled history to a close, as we begin a new chapter. We embrace with pride, admiration and awe these great and ancient cultures we are truly blessed to have among us cultures that provide a unique, uninterrupted human thread linking our Australian continent to the most ancient prehistory of our planet.

Growing from this new respect, we see our indigenous brothers and sisters with fresh eyes, with new eyes, and we have our minds wide open as to how we might tackle, together, the great practical challenges that indigenous Australia faces in the future.

Let us turn this page together: indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, government and opposition, Commonwealth and state, and write this new chapter in our nation's story together.

First Australians, First Fleeters, and those who first took the oath of allegiance just a few weeks ago. Let's grasp this opportunity to craft a new future for this great land: Australia. I commend the motion to the House.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to you

...Happy Birthday to you
Happy birth-day deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeear Nadie
Happy birthday toooooooooooooooooooo you

my baby is 26 today

and a ps: those curls are natural!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Welcome to my world

There are times when I can follow precisely David's reasoning and train of thought... and then there are those other times when I haven't the remotest clue.

Take the missing camera:

After turning the house upside down for the last 2 days, looking for it,
in, on, behind and under every book, box, basket, bed and cupboard in the house
I found it this morning ... and it was nothing short of a minor miracle that it WAS found.
There may even have been heavenly choirs and angelic trumpets involved.
Do any of you want to guess where it was?
rubbish bin? nope
under a bed? nope
in a drawer? nope
his backpack? no no no
the laundry basket?
no no and no again

Give up?
because I very nearly did!

I found the camera, which he had replaced in its black case [ something I rarely do ]

and placed it inside his suitcase
in the bottom of his wardrobe.
The suitcase that only gets used when he goes on camp twice a year!!!
So in theory I might not have found it until July.

Sometimes ya just gotta smile or else you'd cry

gotta love him

Friday, February 08, 2008

not the Friday Fotos

David has ever so kindly put the camera 'away' somewhere, which means that until I can work out where the hell that is, I'll have to rely on the written word and/or photos already on the computer that I haven't gotten around to posting yet.

Not that you'll know that unless I tell you
... oh right
... I just did, didn't I?

this week
- no snake sightings here or next door but a couple of wee froggy visitors. So much nicer than snakes.

- there was actual precipitation- not much but any is good at this point

- the cat bites are nearly healed and the swelling has all gone down. In case this happens again, I've acquired a bottle of Bailey's ...strictly for medicinal use of course

- knitting and such?
Well, I WAS going to show you the finished photos of the Fly By Nightie, but they're in the missing camera :[
but finish it I did - and it fit perfectly- but I still wasn't too keen on the off white
I took a very deep breathe or two,
and dyed it dark purple

While I was at it, I also dyed a couple of skirts, a previously white t-shirt which had a run in with something coloured in the wash, and a crochet top. All survived the process just fine, and I was a happy Catsmum, full of the glow of accomplishment
[ cue ominous music]
I went into town on Wednesday to do some supermarket shopping, all kitted out in one of the skirts and the T-shirt and feeling quite spiffy
I was ambushed by a bottle of bleach with cap not quite as tight as it could be...
I now have a skirt and matching T with white spots and splotches.
'though I suppose I can be thankful that it was just a cheap T and skirt and not my just finished knitting, but still - not happy.
as the aforementioned technical difficulties prevent me from showing you the grisly photos of the bleach carnage: you get a photo of a little 4ply/fingering cotton top [ singlet, vest ] that I knitted back at the start of January but only got around to sewing up this week. Dolly is newborn size so I'd put this at about 6 - 9 months
BWM cotton 4 ply on 3.25mm needles, vintage Patons pattern

Saturday, February 02, 2008

She didn't mean it!

So there I was.
sitting on the couch, enjoying a snuggle with MissC, who has been very affectionate lately.
Then Sophie wandered through
completely innocent of any evil intent
There was no hissing or spitting of any kind that I could hear.
Any negative aspersions being cast on MissC's anticedents were well beyond the range of my pitiful human hearing... but she must've felt threatened in some way
- and she has this 'interesting' habit of blaming whoever is closest -
so the next thing I knew, I had three holes in my right ring finger.
Small holes.
Not a lot of blood.
Nada really.
Antiseptic was speedily applied.
I thought I'd gotten away with it... but nooooooooooooooooo
we all know about cat bites, don't we??
So there may not be a lot of knitting tonight.

I have an ouchie [ or as they are known in our house thanks to Italian MIL - booba ]
I need ice cream
or possibly Baileys
or both

shame I don't have either of them in the house

Friday, February 01, 2008

you make my day

I've been tagged again - this time by the lovely Robbyn at Yarnpath [ who doesn't mind sharing the spelling of her name with one of my goats and actually has a picture of the caprine version on her desktop]

So I'm supposed to nominate 10 bloggers who make my day... 10 people whose written contributions amuse, inform or uplift me in some way.
and of course this is where it gets hard because I want to nominate the writers of all the blogs I regularly read but of course I can't - so here goes, in no particular order:
Sheepish Annie
Ms Vicki Frou Frou who doesn't blog as often as I'd like
Mia the Stoned Knitter [ who is the only other blogger I know who knits, quilts and clogs ]
and of course I'm totally biased but last, and most definitely not least, has to be my darling, witty daughter Nadie
and yes I know that's more than 10 - so sue me!
so there ya go - go visit and see if you can work out why I LOVE these women.

afterthought pic - these are the tie-on cotton headbands I made for Nadie [ denim ] and her friend, Fi, [ pink ].
Fi being MissC's original Mum.
oh, and speaking of MissC - her love for Threebie has obviously rekindled of late. There was some serious snuggling going on in the spare room: