Otterday! And Open Thread.

Today’s otter is having a scritch in the sunlight at the London Zoo. Snapped by Esther Simpson.

closeup of an whiskery otter, eyes closed, scratching its chin with a paw.

Please feel free to use this thread to natter about anything your heart desires. Is there anything great happening in your life? Anything you want to get off your chest? Reading a good book (or a bad one)? Anything in the news that you’d like to discuss? What have you created lately? Commiserations, felicitations, temptations, contemplations, speculations?

Categories: Life

Tags: , , ,

34 replies

  1. Just got back from a walk through our local leash-free park. Sitting on a bench watching a kelpie-cross nonchalantly galumph about the hillside after the flitting wings of welcome swallows as they zoom by has to be one of the most uplifting sights around.

    • Bloody horrified by the ALP this week. First the targeting of single mothers and now the re-institution of Howard’s Pacific Solution. But Rupert forbid we have a serious national discussion about how running a deficit budget right now might actually be a good idea.

  2. Delurking to second your sentiments Tigtog. It’s quite depressing.

  3. Just finished reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and now reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby.

  4. TW: Rape discussion. Rant about fairly obscure subject matter ahead.
    You know when rape culture just sneaks up on you when you least expect it? It just happened to me a few minutes ago.
    I have gotten into the habit of watching “Piers Morgan’s Life Stories” on Youtube. I’ve sometimes never heard of the guests, but I love hearing people tell their story.
    Morgan’s handling of guest Ulrika Johnson’s rape is sickening. It’s like he wanted desperately to tell her she had it coming/shouldn’t have expected otherwise/should have yelled more, but he couldn’t due to those damn PC Standards Board people.
    Morgan is quite often a pom-pom shaking cheerleader of the patriarchy, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I still was.
    I do like some of his interviews – his interview with Kelly Osbourne was rather touching – but when he gets it wrong, he *really* gets it wrong.

    • I was rapidly surfeited regarding Piers Morgan when he was a much younger chap, and your description above gives me no reason to alter my policy of pretending that he does not exist.

  5. I don’t get the outrage about the govt’s teen parents program – sure, the reporting of it was horrible, all “crackdown” and “tough love”, but the actual pilot programs -which are going to be like the school in the ACT where the PM made the announcement – are great.
    Young parents get support, and mostly on-site and always free child care, to get back into education once their child is 12 months old. The program is tailored – it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing where people are forced into doing some training course to which they’re totally unsuited. Surely this is a better plan than leaving them on welfare and having their kids grow up in poverty, with a parent who hasn’t had the opportunity for an education or to get a decent job?
    And it’s a trial, so if it doesn’t work, it can go no further.

  6. Okay. You appear to presume that young mothers would simply stay on welfare and do nothing if the government didn’t force them to put their kids into child care at one year old from your ‘surely this is a better plan than…’ statement.
    As a single teen mum I had some choices, and guess what, I got an education and worked hard for a career – the fact is that it’s a long haul, and the financial support (or ‘welfare’ if you prefer) I have received has reduced over the years as my income increased, but on Tuesday I will report the latest increase which will be the end of parenting payment support marking a large milestone in my life, after 13 years of some level of assistance to pursue an education and a career. But I did that without someone standing over me saying ‘Do it or you and your kid will starve’. I think that’s probably what the objection is.

  7. Sorry, no, I in no way assumed that teen mothers would just stay on welfare – I assumed it would be difficult to get back to school/uni/tafe/etc without help with childcare, and in some cases with no support. That in no way was meant to imply that no-one can do it, it’s just an acknowledgement that most people would find it very difficult.
    I also assumed not giving people a helping hand when they need it is a bad thing.
    As for the “do it or else”- all welfare come with hoops, and I think this has been overemphasised by the reporting.

  8. In those things I agree with you (that there needs to be more support etc). I think that I am quite tired and emotional at the moment (I’m coming to the end of the support I have had from the government, I still have some time to go on my degrees and working enough to get off welfare means also not having enough hours in the day for the study I need or my own emotional wellbeing and that I feel quite anxious and stretched thin in trying to provide adequate parenting to my child).
    I need to clarify that I did (and do) find it extremely difficult to persist in getting an education and in establishing a career, when the system felt like it was pushing me to just give in, shack up with some random and stack shelves for the rest of my life, and that I am fully behind whatever makes it easier for people to ground an education and career they find rewarding – I guess I was asking for the link if you’ve seen stuff on the pilot program that I haven’t because if the program is all about further support then yippee. I still don’t think that telling young parents that their payments will be cut if they don’t comply is a reasonable answer, or that it is acceptable to take the choice away from any parent as to at what age they feel their child is ready to enter into childcare.

  9. Is anyone taking any notice whatever of the teen fathers?
    Also, is the ALP going to do anything about the availability of childcare, or are they just assuming that that side of things is going to take care of itself? because as parents know, the supply has been a trickle in the last couple of decades and the process of finding suitable care at the same time as you find a suitable job, given waiting lists etc, is really fraught.

  10. Helen, children of single parents are among groups that are supposed to receive priority of access (high second priority). I don’t know how much shorter the wait is for high second priority though; in my area it’s reasonable to expect any second priority child (that is, a child with with all parents working or studying) to have a place by their first birthday, so I don’t have good knowledge of how it works in areas with longer waiting lists.

  11. Apologies for my conflation of teenage and single parents there. Teen parents who are single have higher childcare placing priority than other studying or working parents by virtue of being single, but partnered teen parents are as vulnerable to long waiting lists as any other partnered parent, I gather.

  12. Helen, the trial centres involve on-site childcare being set up, so yes, something being done about availability.
    And I’m not sure what should be done about teen fathers, but they largely don’t face the same barriers teen mothers do when it comes to getting an education, except in the rare cases they’re the sole custodial parent, do they?

  13. And fp, I do hear you re: threatening to cut off payments, but I think it’s all being framed that way, when really, it’s about helping people who need a hand.
    And I also hear you re: the chosing what age your kid goes into care.

  14. Sorry, I can’t find a link about the trial centres, but I understood from watching the press conference when the PM announced the measure that they were going to be modelled on the one she was visiting at the time, which had on-site care but the press release doesn’t specify.
    press release

  15. The media coverage has, oddly enough, emphasised the ‘they’ll be cut off if they don’t comply aspect,’ rather than any of the innovations. I agree that it’s incredibly problematic to cut off payments – I hate this aspect of the welfare system – and I’m not entirely convinced that the plan provides sufficient support, but there are plans for covering ‘almost 100%’ of child care costs’ whilst also requiring that kids attend child care and preschool, and creating Children for Communities groups (which they’re calling ‘playgroups’, but are likely to become parenting classes, I think). Cutting off welfare is always problematic, though, and I’m a bit grossed out by the way it forces young parents to parent in accordance with the government’s demands. ‘Carrot and stick’ is probably true…

  16. Anyway, speaking of motherhood, what did all those who enjoy celebrating the day get up to?
    Mine was quiet, just enjoying a beautiful day outside with fish and chips by Botany Bay and long desultory family chit-chat while laughing at the gulls and admiring the passing canines.
    My daughter made this for me: Happy Mother’s Day, WITH ELEPHANTS~!

  17. @ tigtog – is that your daughter’s website? *wonders how everyone else seems to be bringing up talented, articulate children [looking at you too Deborah] while hers are still in the whinging stage*

  18. Yes, I put that together for her a while ago but she’s only really been using it regularly for a few months. As you can probably tell, art is her passion.
    I’m sure that your kids aren’t only whinging at you, and besides it’s a stage that passes. They will be astonishing you soon enough.

  19. I hope in a good way!
    My five year old is quite art focussed too at the moment. MyNigel and I have already decided that we are prepared to ensure that she isn’t a starving artist by feeding and supporting her for as long as necessary. We expect to do the same with our son who so far is heading for a PhD in pure maths (but he is 8 so this may change).
    I spent most of yesterday cleaning the house while MyNigel put a roof on the pizza oven pergola (all of which he built. Months of angst (mine)) and I muttered about ‘projects’ taking up his time and housework dominating mine. At least he mopped the floors. We worked out that changing the things we aren’t entirely happy with about the house will cost slightly less than knocking it down and starting again (exaggeration factor of about 20%).
    / first world, middle class problems
    I got Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute cook book for Mother’s Day (my choice) so we really have no excuse for calling for takeaway when it will be cheaper and quicker to cook. MyNigel is a pretty good cook too. Just have to get organised and pick a few recipes.
    Then I got to wander through Borders for about 20 minutes without children which was wonderful although I didn’t buy anything.
    Finally came across a Dymocks book sale and bought a heap of books for $5.56 each after they had been marked down to $6.95 then discounted a further 20%. So I got rather spoilt actually.

  20. Is this the bragging thread? Because I taught my cat to play table tennis over the weekend. So much more productive than homework. I think he’s going to be an engineer when he grows up.
    (Or maybe just a slightly larger cat. Universities are so prejudiced against non-human applicants.)

  21. That’s pretty damn cool, TAK.
    Anyway, since this is the anything goes thread, have you all seen this one yet?
    Hillary Clinton Photoshopped Out of Situation Room Photo
    (as was the other woman’s head at the back of the photo – can’t have the presence of women in a photo about srs menz bzness!)
    Are my eyes supposed to just keep on rolling like this?

  22. Yeah, sometimes religion has a lot to answer for. But elements of ultra-orthodox Jewish society are not alone in their “men must be protected from seeing women lest they can’t help themselves” schtick.

  23. Oh, I just came to this thread to post this very thing, but you’ve beaten me to it. Un-effing-believable. Hey, I have that eyerolling thing, too.

  24. Re Mother’s Day and talented children, and of course mine are the most adorable and wonderful children in the world (just like yours, Mindy and tt and fp and Helen and any other parents reading this thread), I got coffee in bed, but not breakfast in bed which I don’t really like, and chocolates, and a handkerchief embroidered with my name by my eldest daughter. Her classroom teacher organised it. It was all very sweet. I felt cherished.

  25. I got perfectly poached eggs from the boy in the morning, in bed, and found myself wondering for the Nth time how that funny little creature suddenly grew into a lanky, laconic and wisecracking teenager who cooks like an expert. Also, I got a ceramic mug, and I am not really a ceramic mug person although I do own a pair of birkenstocks, but will cherish it anyway. Then! The Girl cooked dinner. Honey-soy-5spice marinaded pork fillet with hokkien noodles and stir fried vegetables. I brung em up to cook good, even if they’re hopeless at cleaning still!

  26. Sending virtual hugs to fuckpoliteness over the shifting ground she’s on right now (I’m on shifting ground too, and it sucks).

  27. Ha. What I got for Mothers’ Day was husband going into work all morning, leaving me with the toddler.
    Actually dropped in to say: has everyone looked at the lovely animation on Google today, for Martha Graham’s birthday? Has she been a Friday Hoyden yet?
    “I learnt to act by watching Martha Graham dance, and learnt to dance by watching Charlie Chaplin act.” – Louise Brooks (another of my favourite Hoydens).

  28. Hey SunlessNick, I missed that comment. I am tired and sad about welfare stuff right now. Writing about it brings it all up and makes me realise what a long and exhausting journey it has been. Thanks for the message. 🙂
    Mother’s day here? Well we’re trying to buy a house and I have all kinds of mixed feelings about that, studying Indigenous People and the Law at the same time. We nearly got a house at Auction the day before but their reserve price was too high and they refused to negotiate with us even though we were the highest bidders. And I had a lunch lined up with my parents. And TBO came over and cooked me bacon and eggs. That was yum. 🙂

  29. Am having to go on an MSM blackout for a while – the latest meme about the impoverished middle class is inflaming my sarcasm gland to bursting point. There was a guy on the radio this morning arguing that he earns $200,000+ because he’s just smarter, more productive and better than most people. And that rich people are the most discriminated against because they have to pay tax. In all seriousness.
    Like a lot of people, I’m finding it really hard to get a job at the moment. The student allowance is pitiful. It hurts.

  30. Hi TAK: “middle class” on $200K?? No wonder you’re needing to do a MSM blackout. I found this online today and it might make you feel…maybe not better about how tough it is on a student allowance, but armed w more evidence of what a total toolbag the guy is!

  31. Good lord! Someone SERIOUSLY just stopped by my blog to tell me they were removing my blog from their ‘favourites’ because in my post about the new government program for teenaged parents on parenting payment (the first of several in which I state clearly I will just talk about my experience of being a single teenaged mum) *I* didn’t take the time to defend women who choose not to have kids, and the discrimination and social isolation they face. No, really.

  32. Yeah, wow, FP. That’s seriously out of line. I’m so sorry you got that response. 😦

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