girlpower, or the day we got our first woman prime minister

This afternoon as I was sitting on the steps waiting for the school bell to ring, one of the other mothers raced in and with a big grin on her face, put her fist in the air and proclaimed "girl power". I guess I wouldn't call Julia Gillard, who is a year older than me, a girl, she is most assuredly a strong woman in the prime of her middle age, but hey, I totally got the exuberance. I've been feeling it all day. Today, Australia got our first female Prime Minister and it feels historic and special. As feminists, as women, how could we not celebrate?

Change was in the air and it was definitely the talk around the school yard this morning. As I did a load of washing and the dishes, I had my ear to the radio. At twelve, I sat down with my knitting to listen to the outgoing Prime Minister - Kevin Rudd - make a speech that was just so excruciating, so raw, but also so good that I couldn't help but admire him. He might have been a crap boss but he achieved some good things. Like the apology, of which we can all be proud. I also noticed at work that when Labor came to power, things changed, a softening around the edges if you will. More money for the poorest of our poor. Not enough, but more than before. And if homelessness hasn't exactly been tackled, at least it is firmly on the agenda. 

To the winner

So as I ripped back my knitting ( in depth knitting post due soon) and placed the stitches back on the needles I listened to Julia Gillard address the press. And wasn't she impressive! So intelligent and assured. I greatly like how she is clear that she can't let the country fall into the hands of Tony Abbott. That education and health are too important, that she called the mining companies to the table to negotiate the super profits tax but that she is clear that all Australians deserve a fair share of our mineral wealth. I watched her again on the 7.30 report and she makes no apologies for being a politician and avoiding certain questions. Indeed she does it with a great deal of grace. But it's not the specifics that are important really - I'm sure on some level she will disappoint, she has admitted as much herself and after all she is a politician and politics is is full of compromises and deal making. Or as one of my friends (that would be Mel M) said on Facebook and I quote "Governing a country is like riding a massive beast with 100 heads and 100 heads trying to go in 1000 different directions, while every kind of spear is thrown at you from the sidelines. Whether some of us like it or not - and whether anyone in the Greens except Bob Brown ever matures enough to realise it - democratic government is, by its very nature, incremental." Somehow I think Julia is up to it, inasmuch as anyone can be. And that makes me happy.

I also admire how she has decided not to move into the lodge until after winning the next election. Practical and symbolic. And how she brushes off the first woman Prime Minister thing. Sure it's important but that's for us to make a fuss of, not her. She's got a country to lead. It also intrigues me that she may well be our first unmarried prime minister - so she could be living at the lodge with her manfriend, or even on her own, both of  which seem very modern to me. There were comments today on the radio and there has been controversy in the past that she can't lead because she doesn't have a family and therefore doesn't know the issues facing working families (to use a Ruddism) but that's utter rubbish. Of course she has a family, she didn't emerge into the world fully grown or magically appear under a cabbage. It's just that she has chosen to follow a career in politics. And why shouldn't she? Choice is meant to be one of the important things feminism gives us, and her choice has been to pursue a life other than motherhood. It's not my choice, but I have a different, much more ordinary life. Obviously. But somehow I imagine I and others will benefit from that choice of hers. Anyway I can't imagine how one would balance being PM with motherhood, or even with fatherhood for that matter, but that's a whole other issue. Although I'd be interested to see if we could have a PM who was also a mother. I'm also wondering how she will do without a "wife", will her manfriend fill that role? does it matter? Obviously she has already geared her life so that she can operate as a high level politician. And I guess that's what excites me, I can say to Grace that our Prime Minister, the boss of our country is a woman. That a girl can grow up to Prime Minister. That men can be led by women. Please let her win the election. Because I would really like to see how this pans out. I expect remarkable things. I really do.

crarf camp - queen's birthday 2010

Gosh it was good. As I said somewhere over on Kate's blog, when you get a whole lot of awesome women together, well that's alot of awesome and it's bound to be well... awesome.  Seriously though, it was. I look back at the pictures and they bring back the happy. It was productive too - I tackled the bag of sewing projects leftover from last winter - you know the ones abandoned because they were covered in cat hair and failure. So now I have a casual woollen hoodie to wear for school pickups - since we got the central heating and can now wear normal clothes inside, I've been thinking it would be a good idea to finish it. It's OK and will probably get years of wear until the right fabric appears to make a new improved version. Also finished a skirt remake that was so easy and turned out really well; warm comfortable and not unstylish. Indeed I'm wearing it now. On the spur of the moment and because my wide legged pyjama like pants were giving me the shits, I made some light green pyjama pants with sexy black lace trim. I also did the odd spot of mending, made two long sleeve black t-shirts for me, a purple hoodie with pink trim for Grace (which she likes except that I forgot to put the heart on the pocket - bad mummy) and nearly finished a peasant top that was the remaining item from the pile of shame. Oh, and not to mention some pretty average doll's clothes and a fair amount of knitting - which I think will be a post in itself. All in all a good result. 

crarf camp - queen's birthday 2010

But as always, the best thing was getting away with a group of like minded women. To take photos in the frosty dawn - go here, it's my favourite. To cook and be cooked for, to sit around and knit at night by the fire, to stay up late at night in the studio talking crazy talk and swearing over the whir of the sewing machines. I love how stuff goes around, how a bit of my red fabric ended up in Magda's quilt, how one Kate had the right elastic for my jacket, coming home with some yarn magazines (thanks Sue) the talk of quilting techniques and sessions at the sticky board. Learning that there are ways to stuff up a lemon tart and it being absolutely OK (too long in the oven over an electric element caused it to boil and although it tasted very nice, the texture wasn't perfect).  Meeting new crafty people, being busy and inspired (I really want to make one of these rugs like Jenny's). Saying that we want to be doing this when we are seventy and plus. Feeling that somehow, the more things change, the more the best things stay the same.

Thank you also to Gerard and Grace for driving me up (that was a whole adventure on it's own - Grace loved seeing where mummy has her craft weekend and didn't want to leave - not that I can blame her) and thanks to Suse for being organiser in chief and for driving me home again. Sometimes, not driving takes a weekend to a whole new level of relaxation for me and I really appreciate it. Yes, it really was totally ace. Thank you everyone.

life in the house of snot snots

It is officially winter and just to make sure we don't forget that little fact, everyone in the house is or has been sick. Indeed it seems as though half of Melbourne is afflicted. Most of Grace's class have had this cold and many of the parents are suffering too. There's also a nasty gastro doing the rounds, but luckily for us it skipped our house. I was the last to succumb to the cold but just can't quite seem to completely throw it off. But I am over it, well and truly over it. I stocked up on vitamins for the whole family the other day, mine taste unpleasantly of garlic and Grace's are like lollies. I also resorted to cold and flu tablets during the day, with some unpleasant accompanying jitteriness but it was better than having my nose drip and my face itch so badly I wanted to scratch it off. Oh, and there has been some hardcore night time benadryl for the night cough. This stuff knocks me out and I have to admit, that was a plus for a couple of nights. Yesterday, I almost felt totally well though, and I attribute that to the ingestion of a jar of very tart lemon curd made by my mum. Over several nights. Yum yum. Unfortunately the cough came back today but I am trying to ignore it. Because I have better things to do than drip and sneeze.

foggy morning

At least it is lovely and warm inside the house. I do rather enjoy our new central heating. Yes, I do. I can even sit out at the computer at night without being swathed in blankets and having a pitiful column heater next to me. Gosh.

A week or so ago, I started my first piece of knitting from a pattern (Very Cherry - Ravelry link here). And I've done some maths and extended the size and adjusted for gauge. Gerard had to give me a formula for that - but otherwise I'm quite proud of myself. But it took ages to get my circle of rib happening. It kept turning into moss stitch and I don't yet have the ability to read my knitting until it's a few rows down and very obvious. Mum gave me some pointers on the weekend and showed me how to fix my mistakes without unravelling the whole thing and starting again. Which much to my surprise, I was easily able to do! The knitting is now starting to progress and I am nearly ready to begin shaping the armhole. Mum also helped me decipher the next bit of the pattern and I might have to rewrite it in a way that makes more sense to me. But luckily this weekend I will be hanging out with some serious knitters, so if I can tear myself away from my myriad of sewing projects I have just packed, perhaps I will even get to the next stage.

Thank you for all the bra comments. Unfortunately, the bra I did buy ended up being the most uncomfortable thing I have ever worn. So I can't bring myself to wear it. And it is bumpy under t-shirts. Ick. I think I might save up and travel across town to a specialty shop and see if I can do better. Maybe here. Why is something so common, so difficult to do? Urgh.

Ok, that's it for me - I need some sleep. Sewjourn tomorrow. Oh yes.