Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shame!

In April of 2010, the National Post reported Stephen Harper announcing that “Canada will only fund maternal health projects in developing countries as long as the projects don’t divide Canadians.” This was harperspeak for saying that Canada will not be part of any initiative that funds safe abortion in developing countries.
Just this morning, Harper left for Geneva where he will co-chair a new UN accountability commission on child and maternal health in the Third World.
The president of the International Confederation of Midwives, praised the initiative: “… we need accountability. We need to know that the monies being spent are doing the right thing, that they're actually improving health care at the community level. And I think that it's really a coup for Canada."
Lynch said several developing nations have begun to take maternal and child health seriously as a barometer of their overall development and that Canada is well-placed to keep that momentum going.
Shame on you, Bridget Lynch, for not doing your homework! Where do Stephen Harper’s real loyalties rest, and how do they intersect with government planning at the highest level?
In 1981 I went to visit a young woman who was lucky enough to have survived her coat hanger abortion and was lying in a clean enough hospital in southern Africa. In the village, a scandal had just developed because a highly placed government official had been found with an eleven year old girl. These horrible things happen in Canada as well, and here we are allowed access to safe, clean hospitals and legal abortions. Why restrict these rights to the developed world?
It is our duty as women, as midwives, and as Canadians to help to make sure this woman’s daughters and granddaughters have access to all the health care services they need, and we cannot let our ideology and false morality get in the way.

Birth Blues

I am so excited about the upcoming workshop in Italy. I hope that this will be the beginning of something really special for the women who will be attending.

I have the birth blues today because I have been talking to several women who feel sad about their birth experience, even though they did have a doula with them.

One woman felt that her doula was so against the epidural that she didn't call her until she had already been in labor for almost a day. She was afraid of her doula's anger.

Another woman had a natural birth in a hospital, but she was bullied by the attending nurse the whole time she was actively laboring.

I was at a birth the other day and I felt that my knowledge of the birth process was almost getting in the way. I felt the attending resident was trying to prove how much she knew, and was intimidated by my presence.

The doula needs to be rebirthed. She needs to go back to her original companionable self: the hand-holder, the friendly presence,  the holder, the invisible woman.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Doula Training in Tuscany

The New Doula is holding a five day doula training program in Tuscany July 3 to 8, 2011.

Classes are held on the lawn
We will be staying in a beautiful agriturismo in the north of Tuscany. Families of participants are welcome. There are hiking trails, day trips, and a swimming pool on site.

We provide all meals, made from fresh local ingredients to satisfy every palate.

Please leave a comment if you are interested in more details.


Doula Training in Tuscany

The New Doula is holding a five day doula training program in Tuscany July 3 to 8, 2011.

Classes are held on the lawn
We will be staying in a beautiful agriturismo in the north of Tuscany. Families of participants are welcome. There are hiking trails, day trips, and a swimming pool on site.

We provide all meals, made from fresh local ingredients to satisfy every palate.

Please leave a comment if you are interested in more details.


Doula Training in Tuscany

The New Doula is holding a five day doula training program in Tuscany July 3 to 8, 2011.

Classes are held on the lawn
We will be staying in a beautiful agriturismo in the north of Tuscany. Families of participants are welcome. There are hiking trails, day trips, and a swimming pool on site.

We provide all meals, made from fresh local ingredients to satisfy every palate.

Please leave a comment if you are interested in more details.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The New Doula

Let's shake things up a little! It's time to unlearn and re-create the doula so that we can all start to see birth in a different light.

Birth starts with pleasure, so let's keep that pleasure going ... 

We are offering a five day New Doula workshop in Tuscany, Italy, in the summer of 2011. We will be staying in an "agriturismo" in the northern region of Tuscany, close to the beach, mountains, and beautiful hillside villages.

I will definitely keep you posted about this exciting New Doula event.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Veggie Moussaka Is Good (despite its name)

Moussaka on the Mountain

This was a good meal after a week of working the cement mixer at our place in Lunigiana.

Cut a large eggplant in 1cm slices and layer the slices on a plate, covering each slice with coarse salt. Put a heavy weight (another plate and large log, or a frying pan, ... be creative!) on the slices and let them sit for 30 minutes. The water will drain off and make the eggplant less acidic.
While you are waiting, peel and cut 3 or 4 potatoes into thin slices, the same with white onions (1 or 2), and possibly mushrooms.
Make a bechamel sauce:

Place one tablespoon white flour and 1/4 cup butter in a small pan and heat it until it forms a whitish lump. Slowly add milk and stir it like crazy while it is cooking on a low heat. Add salt and lots of grated nutmeg. Beat the lumps out with your wooden spoon. When it gets too thick, add more milk. Keep beating until it looks like a smooth, pourable sauce.

By now your eggplant should be ready. Remove them from the plate and brush off the excess salt. Place the vegetables in layers in a large oiled casserole, adding 3 cloves garlic, sliced or squeezed, dried oregano and a fresh hot chili if you wish. Slather it all with abundant olive oil, salt and pepper and pour the bechamel on top. Cook in a 375 oven for an hour or until the vegetables are soft. Let it cool a little before eating so it sets.

Grief

When loss jumps in, we forget to eat.
Why fuel our bodies when mortality has pushed its way into our daily lives?
What use are recipes, feather dusters, and soup when there is a huge hole where there once was a warm and loving person?
We do keep trudging though. There is chocolate, a glass of wine, and happiness far, far down the road, when the wound has healed enough that you can smile again, with your eyes as well as your mouth.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dinner for eight in the blink of an eye

The trouble with a largish family (five sons) is that you never know how many people you are making dinner for. So I usually make a huge amount and figure it will get eaten sooner or later. So,

Roast Chicken

2 pieces of chicken per person, I counted a leg and thigh for each adult. Put it in a pan with chopped garlic and sage sprinkled on top. Peel 12 potatoes, cut them into 2 inch cubes and place them around and under chicken. Liberally cover with olive oil. Put in a hot (400) oven for 90 minutes.

Penne al pomodoro

One jar passata di pomodoro
three cloves garlic
good extra virgin olive oil

Squeeze the garlic into a shallow pan or terracotta pot, add two tablespoons olive oil, and the passata. Put the lid on and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Boil at least 3 liters of water with a handful of salt in a large pan. When it is boiling, add 500 g penne and cook for about 10 minutes or until "al dente". Drain, smother in oil and add sauce.

Insalata

One head romaine, one box baby arugula, one head fennel, one clove garlic, chop everything into a salad bowl, dress with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

As the boys arrive home, at least five of us are at the table but unfortunately by the time a friend showed up the chicken was gone. The meal was washed down with moderate amounts of a good red wine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Serotonin

Much has been made of the hormonal basis for everything we humans achieve (or don't). In the Time magazine I just read, a total of eight pages were devoted to anti-depressant medication, which is understood to target deficiencies in various chemicals in our brains.

A wonderful antidote to the winter blues is a good dose of good food. And I don't mean a huge dose of sweet and sticky feed, I mean a modest portion of excellent food, a glass of wine, and good company. Because these few things will get your hormones rising, and will produce that lovely sense of fullness, satisfaction, and general contentment with the world that you feel after a meal with friends.

Those friends can also be a good book, don't get me wrong. I'm not limiting a happy meal to those of us with constant companionship.

But the meal my husband made on Sunday night was magnificent, and the hormones were definitely flowing.

Fettucine ai Fungi; Chicken Schnitzel; Tossed Salad; Fruit Salad ... and Irish Coffee to top it all off.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 already!!

There was nothing memorable to record in terms of good food for the few days we went to Vermont. The older generation accompanied six male youths (sons) to Stowe where we stayed in a cheap hotel, drank too much, made more noise than anyone else, and had a good time. Food remained patchy with store bought fluffy bread, cheese and tomatoes. Chips, peanuts, and chocolate combined with eggnog vodkas, a turkey drink, and Beck's to leave a happy holidays feeling lingering on the drive home.