Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thinking out loud: Day one of NZ's lockdown

I will start with the hard stuff and move on up from there. Those who are feeling grim can skip to the middle. 
Our response to COVID-19 is really shining a light on inequity and privilege for me. Showing up the gulf between those who can afford to stock up on food and supplies and those who cannot. Those who had the internet connection, friends overseas in hotspots and time to research and saw what was coming, and those who were overwhelmed with working several jobs who don’t have internet at home or smartphones, or time to scroll, who did not.

I worry about those living in tense households, in lockdown for four weeks. In times of tension, domestic violence stats spike and NZ’s DV rates are abysmal to start with. 

I am sad for all the single parents who have had to bubble up with their kid’s other parent because of shared care and it's the right thing to do for their child/ren, instead of bubbling up with someone they chose.

I am disappointed at the edict about the one person only edict for supermarkets on Day one of NZ’s lockdown. I understand the reasons why but there are single parents who used precious petrol money to get to the supermarket and had to leave without the food they needed because they had their child/ren with them and were turned away. If they are the sole adult in their bubble, these parents have no-one they can leave the kid/s with. And they are with the strong message that the world is not made for families like theirs and the added financial pressure of having to find services that will deliver. We’ve shut the country down with 48 hours warning, so I am sure there will be tweaks that need to happen, like the launch of anything. Yes, we are all making sacrifices and all have our stories about how we are are affected but some things are basic needs everyone has a right to. I hope we see the one-person in rule adapted soon.

But I am so grateful that we have the government we do. I was ready for a lockdown a week before it was called and am relieved we are doing this. Our Prime Minister has impressed my socks off. I first heard of her through friends years ago who know her. Now I see what all the fuss was about. Angela and Leigh, I will never doubt you again. We have wage subsidies even for freelancers and charities, extra funding for social services at this time, mortgage holidays for those need them, rent hike freeze, our heroes, the nurses and other medical staff, health care providers and police, food producers and suppliers, fire crews and frontline supermarket workers all appreciated as they should be. They are all putting their health, and their families at risk for the greater good. I am in awe. I know there is discussion about whether it’s the right thing to do and I’m not engaging in that, but at the very least this lockdown gives us space to decide what is next and to continue to prepare our health and essential services. It will save lives.

I look to the US, where I used to live, at that clown of the president in power at the moment and am fearful for what is unfolding there. Our leaders could not be more different.  

Stay home everyone. Get out for your walks, runs or bike rides but 2m away from others not in your bubble, and otherwise, be on home ground. Be kind. Give yourselves slack to grump around and throw your toys but just not AT anyone. 
Then look for the opportunities. We might as well. To wallow in the mire for four weeks isn't going to lead to anything good. I live in a remote area with a teenager, the amount of eyerolls directed at me daily would surely fell a lesser being. My point being, if I can focus on the opportunities, you can too. We’ve decided to set a goal or two or three a day and keep each other accountable. As I type, there are 32 minutes until the end of day one and only one goal ticked by one of us, but it’s a start. And it was a good day. Lots of talk about what we’re missing but there was gratitude, boardgames and laughter, the sharing of memes, good conversation and a gluten-fest of lemon tart and homemade pizza. 

This is a hard thing, but so is what is coming. We need to keep numbers of those needing medical help to capacity - protect our elders, immunocompromised and vulnerable. Staying home is the least we can do for all those leaving theirs to work in essential services. Our job is to stay home. And try not to eat all the chocolate. Surely we can do that.

We are all in this together, apart. You know what I mean.

With all this time freed up from daily life out and about, I’ll be back here with a series on the blog, pulling together cool stuff and links for you, and the kids. 
Thank goodness for the internet!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The surreal times begin

I had been waiting until my new website went live before I dived back into this lovely bloggy place. But. The website has been on hold for ages and when I went to grab the link for the bread recipe folks have been asking for, I saw my last post was September LAST YEAR. Which isn't true at all. Yikes. I need to work out where all the latest blog posts have gone.

 I find myself with more time to write all of a sudden. New Zealand is closed and we're in physical isolation due to COVID-19. Like so many of us in the world. Such a surreal time. 
I work mostly remotely and we homeschool but life still looks very different. There are no days in the office, no meetings, no homeschool group, no swim training, no appointments to get to, no hangouts with town friends, no gigs, no library.  Pretty much the whole weekend I had planned was cancelled. Life is, understandably, on hold. I am thinking of friends holed up all over the world, some stranded far away from home and their people, and my heart goes out to all those whose beloveds are sick or worse. 

I took the day off news sites. I needed it. I think I will limit myself to certain times of day, the situation is changing so fast, it's tempting to live on social media but I don't fancy what that'll do to my mental health. 
I was so grateful to be able to get out and go for a walk and work in the garden today.
So lucky to live where I do. 

Funny that of all the strangeness, the libraries closing was the thing that freaked me out. I didn't even have time to dash in and stock up. My son gave me a talking to, apparently he thinks the 20 books by my bed, the ones on our bookshelves, the libraries ebook app and kindle should be enough. I feel so misunderstood.

Take care of yourselves lovelies. Wash those hands, keep that distance, keep connected to those you love and be kind out there.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Making: linen top

This one is worn on repeat. It's Sew Knit Love's Sarah Dress pattern, the top version. 
I've made three dresses from this pattern now and have made some for friends. I may have to cave to pressure and start taking orders soon.
The linen is an ochre-green and the fabric butter-soft. Perfect with a pair of high waisted jeans and a cardigan. I super love this top.
It's a fast sew and it's a great pattern basic to build your wardrobe with. 
This shirt is a great layering piece. I have my third one cut out and ready to sew. I am not a big t-shirt person, I like these shirts much better.

Hey textile loving people, Auckland Fabric-a-brac is coming up in a few weeks. Proceeds go to charity, usually local hospice. It's one of my favourite events of the year. 
Might see you there?

Monday, August 19, 2019

The best bread recipe

I am back, by popular demand, to give you the bread recipe I blogged about recently. There were a bunch of hollers on the GrowMama facebook page and a wee stack of messages asking for the recipe. 

Every now and then I make a kneadable dough (sensory delight and free therapy you know) but the time and organisation it takes to prove bread multiple times just doesn't get prioritised in this beautifully crowded life. 

Original recipe credit goes to the amazing Claire Inwood. I have since tweaked it. Most recipes get tweaked in this house!

The Best Bread

1.5 l warm water
1 tbsp sugar, coconut sugar or honey
2 tbsp yeast 
9 cups of flour (I use 6 cups of white flour and 3 wholemeal so the youngster will eat it)
1 tbsp salt
1 egg (or if vegan, I substitute with egg replacer or 2 tbsp ground linseeds)

Handful of seeds (however many you like, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, different linseeds, chia)
I grind seeds for extra nutritional value if kiddoes are of the anti-seed variety.

Whisk the sweetener, water and yeast together and when activated and poufy chuck it all together and mix well. 

Use a pastry brush to oil the tins, pour mixture in (it's quite a wet mix) to 3/4 and put in a cold oven.

Heat oven to 190 degrees celsius.
Sometimes I set my timer for half an hour but mostly I check it once the delicious-freshly-baked-bread smell hits the house. 
And, done! Now you can impress the pants of your friends too! You're welcome. x

I make the basic mix for the kids loaves, then dose the rest with seeds for me. I like to play with different flours (I like to use rye and spelt) and you can tweak the wholemeal/white flour balance according to preferences. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kid's anxiety about climate change booklist and getting arrested

I am a believer in direct action and using your voice for those who cannot speak or who have been silenced.  Way back in 1995, I co-organised The Direct Action Conference alongside COP1, the first United Nations Climate Change conference in Berlin. After being arrested, ( a few of us had kryptonite D-locked ourselves to a delegates bus, trying to get climate change in the media, the projections even back then, were scary) I had a bit of time to think. 
When conversation with my cellmate, Anika Jones from Greenham Common, faded out, I was left to my thoughts. I remember wondering what the world would be like if our voices went unheard. How would the next generation, the kids, feel about inheriting a damaged world, all because of human greed and ignorance? I thought about that time in that jail cell while I was researching and compiling a book list on Kids with Climate Change Anxiety for The Sapling. 

I can't tell you how much I resented writing that piece. But it's important work. Necessary. 
If you don't know about The Sapling yet, go and take a look around, it's a special place.
The booklist on Kids Anxiety around climate change on The Sapling is HERE.

And there's a documentary covering the Greenhouse Gathering, Direct Action conference and COP1 HERE, featuring talented activists and social change agents, Paxus Calta, Stephany, Mark, Adam x, Anika, George Monbiot, Hester, Vladimir, Rebecca, Davor, Rod Harbinson and others. Many of these fabulous people have devoted their lives to lobbying, campaigning and working for positive change. Some are well known internationally, some in certain circles, but they are all heroes. People have been working, mostly invisibly, although passionately, for the last thirty years. It's hard to live on the frontlines of climate science for so long and be desperately trying to think of ways of how to reach people, how to make a difference and get humans to act responsibly. So much love to all those people who have been waving that flag for all this time. 
I am at 4.15, 5.41 my son tells me. And that's me with my D-lock being removed from around my neck with an angle grinder. This doco came to light recently, I remember the filming but never saw the finished piece. On seeing it, my son said 'Mama. You are cooler than I thought'. Funny. 

My highlights are the ever eloquent Stephany at 7.30 and Paxus on why direct action is important at 20.37. Imagine if they had listened to us and so many others back then and taken meaningful action. Imagine.