Thursday, July 30, 2009

I love reading..but???

I totally love reading and have been known to read 3-4 books in a single week (usually when Ivan is away and I can read to all hours of the night).

But - I am overwhelmed at the moment and it is going to be a challenge!

For English Classics alone (let alone Poetry and Religion) I have to read:

Chaucer - "The Miller's Prologue and Tale" from The Canterbury Tales
Shakespeare - King Lear
Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels, Part 4
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
James Joyce - "The Dead"
Robert Browning "My last Duchess"
T.S. Elliot - Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
Poems by Phillip Larkin
Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea (finished)
Toni Morrison - Beloved (finished)
Salman Rushdie "The Prophet's Hair" & "English is an Indian Literary Language"

Plus 14 Chapters of Literary Criticism Theory.

It is huge and overwhelming and this is just one course.

I have hired a DVD of King Lear, hired the audio book of Beowulf and am contemplating attaching a copy of something to a wire frame to dangle in front of my glasses so I can read as I work through life.

It is going to be wonderful.
My family is not going to have any clean clothes, cooked meals (takeaway is on order), a clean house or a sane mother, but boy oh boy, I am going to thrive and succeed and have fun doing it.

Today was my first English lecture and I went straight to the library afterward and wrote up my notes as I waited for Elizabeth to finish her lecture. So I am ahead of the game. Hopefully, I can stay that way, so send me good eyes, a sponge for a brain and lots of hours in the day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Angel's Gift.

First of all this is not the best photo in the world and a better one will be up soon, but I need to get this out to the world immediately.

My amazingly talented youngest child has once more blown me away, with her amazing gifts. My Mom has been teaching Sarah to do a little pyrography (wood burning) and Sarah decided that because I love Angels so much she would do one for me for Christmas.

Over the holidays (when I was away) she found this picture on the Internet and traced it onto the wood. Then things got in the way and she left it. Today she had some time with Granny and Grandad (she has been home with a sore throat) and decided to 'have a go at Mommy's Angel.'

Well not only did she have a go, but has produced this MAGNIFICENT GIFT. The detail and beauty of her talent is wonderful and I am blessed by my child who gave it to me tonight. I want to boast to the world of her talent, but will restrain myself to sharing on my Blog.

What makes us laugh?

In response to my post yesterday, Michelle made the comment that she finds it hard to laugh. It really got me thinking about how much I do laugh and what I laugh at.

My son is the person in my life who makes me laugh the most. He has a very quick-witted sense of humour. He finds something funny about almost every situation and sometimes it is inappropriate, but I still find it really funny and have to harness in my natural desire to laugh and play the parenting role.

Yesterday we were driving home together and a large truck pulled into the Garden centre in front of us. Matthew commented that they looked sinister and were probably carrying something dangerous. My reply was: "Probably grass!" His reply: "No weed" My reply "No pot/s", his reply they probably have "crack in them". And so the two of us giggled and laughed for a few minutes. Bonding in a way that I thank God for every single day.

I love laughter, it cleans my insides! It is hard to worry about things when a real laugh takes hold. I love clever humour and fun. So laugh everyday, find something funny, a joke, a song, or maybe a silly comment. Just Laugh!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Waiting for News

I have been inspired to write today about a friend who is 'waiting for news.'
My new Blog friend Darlene is waiting for some health news and today posted an inspirational Blog called IF. She commented that 'If' the news was not good she would live her life, like she was dying - but not recklessly; and continue to treat people the way she wanted to be treated.
And if the news was good, she would do her happy dance and pretty much live the life she was planning to live if she was dying.

This made me think, that if we were told today that we only had a certain number of days to live, what would we change? It made me think that this is how we should live our lives everyday, because even though we may have years, months or even days to live - each day should be lived like it is our last.

I believe with all my heart that at the end of each day, I should go to bed and know that if I did not wake in the morning, I would be satisfied that I had lived my life to the very best. Made mistakes along the way, but lived. Tried my best and lived. Enjoyed each and every gift and faced each and every challenge with grit and determination. Treated all those I love with respect and honesty and all those I don't know or don't like just the same.

To my friend Darlene, I wish you well, I hope your results are positive and healthy and I am proud to be able to say I have a Canadian Blog Friend - Eh!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Silence on Friday

My house is filled with Silence. No music, no TV, no children's voices, no traffic outside - just silence. Well, I can hear the hum of my computer; the tick, tick of my fingers on the keyboard, the birds singing and chirping in the amazing winter sunshine today (temperature around 16 degrees - how about a Brisbane winter) and Silence!

It feels like forever, since I was at home alone, with no urgent assignment due, no cases to pack and organise for a trip (yes, I know that is such a hardship) and most of the housework completed. I have the two loads of washing on the line, the dishes washed, the groceries packed away, the cleaning from 2 days ago still looks good and I am home alone - Yippee!!!!!!

There are many things that I could and perhaps should do today, but I think that I am going to indulge in some serious ME time. I am going to relax and finish 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison (it is one of my text books); I am going to skim through my new text book: "How to read a poem and fall in love with poetry." I think that I will indulge in a tasty cheese and salad sandwich on fresh whole grain bread with a big glass of Lime Juice with ice and just refresh my brain. And I think that I will do most of this out in the beautiful Brisbane Sunshine.

Today is going to be about battery recharging!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Washington Sights

Elizabeth and I both loved the sights of Washington. We were really tired by the time we hit town, but were determined to 'see it all!' Ivan took some great photos of us on the Saturday afternoon that he got to spend with us.

A visit to the White House, pity we didn't get invited in for tea, never mind we will try Buckingham Palace, when we are in London.

Elizabeth and I in Central Park, after a lovely day of Touring New York!

I love this photo of Elizabeth with the Statue of Liberty in the background. It was taken on the Statten Island Ferry.

Elizabeth and I on Broadway! Mayor Bloomberg has closed off the street and set up all these deck chairs for people to sit in the middle of New York and enjoy the summer evenings. It was so funny as a couple of people got up from the chairs and Ivan charged off at full speed to get a seat for a photo, two young girls spotted them at the same time and headed off towards them, they were barreled out of the way, by the 6' Irish giant. I reassured them, that he wasn't attacking them, we just wanted a photo, they were laughing so much at the stupid tourists!

Early morning Yuckies!

Our family does not do mornings well, especially school mornings. I have found that despite fairly early nights, it is a struggle to get children out of bed and motivated. Saturdays and Sundays are days they lie-in and this is often until after 9am. (Matthew after 11am if he was allowed - but then he is a teenage boy!)

I am an early morning person, although do love my lie-ins. Once I am up then it is okay, I can motivate myself to get going quite easily, but the initial moment when lying in bed thinking about the day, I often wish I could just cancel everything and stay in bed.

Winter is especially hard as it is darker until later, although by 6.45am the sky is light and clear, no direct sunshine yet, but certainly bright. Summer is easier with daylight around 4am.

One thing that has helped is me getting a nice breakfast of fresh fruit and a glass of juice set up for each of them at our lovely new bar. This keeps them out of my kitchen and I can work at the school lunches. Roll on school holidays, only another 8 weeks to go!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Do you know why the grass is always greener in Ireland?

It is because all the Irish are walking on everyone else's Grass!

I know that it rains a lot in Ireland, but we were so lucky with our few days. We had times of glorious sunshine and in fact during the whole trip, this was the only place that Elizabeth and I got sunburned. Well just a little.

Elizabeth took this great photo of me kneeling on the rocky outcrop at Carrick-A-Rede, what an amazing place and this lovely group shot of Elizabeth, Karen (Ivan's sister) and me. I like it because I was standing uphill, so was almost the same height as both of them.

I also managed to take a great group shot of everyone, Elizabeth's Aunty Karen, Uncle Geordie and cousins Rebecca (front left), young Ellen and behind her Ashleigh.

Elizabeth was persuaded to dip her toes in the Irish sea, she said it wasn't so bad, as within seconds her feet were totally numb!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A few Irish photos!

Ivan and Elizabeth on the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge!
It was a challenge to cross the rope bridge over the sea below, but great fun. This amazing rocky outcrop is up on the Antrim coast and we were all up for the challenge.

The Giant's Causeway!
Columnar Basalts or according to the legend Finn McCool's pavement across the Irish Sea to Scotland.
Elizabeth having fun balancing on the rocks.
Ivan and Elizabeth posing at the Causeway.

New Glasses

I can see clearly now with my glasses on!
Well sort of?
These are my new progressive lens glasses and will take a little time to get used to wearing them. I chose the frames without any family input and I am still getting used to them, but quite like the more modern look.
I now need my specs for reading and also a little distance vision, so have opted for progressive lenses which will allow me to wear them all the time and see for both reading and everyday sight.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Uni Results!

I did it, I passed first semester.

My final results came out while I was overseas, but I managed to log onto the computer and get them just before I arrived home.

I achieved a 5 (Pass with credit) for my Writing narrative course.
A 6 (Distinction) for World Religions and
A 7 (High Distinction) for Meditation and Soul Journeys.

I am so thrilled with these results, especially the 2 religion courses.

Semester Two starts on July 27th and I have signed up to do Literary Classics in English; Writing (Poetry); and History of the Supernatural in Religion. So it should be another challenge, but hopefully just as much fun.

Home Again!

I am back!!!

After an amazing 19 days away, I am home, but totally jet lagged. We had a 42 hour travel time home, sleeping around 6 hours during those 42 and our body clocks have not adjusted. Ivan and I were asleep by 6.30pm last night and awake from 2.30am - Yuck! So am doing quite well tonight, with it already 7.00pm and I am still awake - well sort of???

Elizabeth and I had an amazing 19 days, (lots of photos to follow - need some editing). We flew from Brisbane to LA, then straight onto New York arriving around 5.30pm the same day we left. We then walked around the city until about 11pm, collapsing into bed exhausted. A full day followed with 2 exciting Hop on/Hop off Bus tours, more New York shopping and another really late night. Day 2 saw us on another bus trip and even more shopping, the credit card was beginning to moan in despair.

Day 3 we picked up the car and I negotiated the streets of Manhattan and the Lincoln Tunnel to get out of New York. I then drove to Washington D.C. We stayed in Georgetown, and explored D.C. for just one day fitting in as much as we could including all the Memorials, White House, Arlington cemetery etc, etc. Plus another bus tour. Then in the afternoon (Sunday I think) I drove to York, Pennsylvania. Monday (Day 5) Elizabeth and I explored Gettysburg - what an amazing tour, so interesting, especially to Elizabeth who loves History in all its forms.

Day 6 saw me driving from York, PA all through eastern Pennsylvania up to Stamford in Connecticut, a total of 630 miles in just 3 days. Quite a journey. We had a quiet day in Stamford and then in was back to JFK, to fly to London and onto Dublin. By now we were operating on adrenaline and will power. Quite an experience. We took lots and lots of photos about 800+ in this first section of the trip.

Next installment to follow hopefully with photos in the next couple of days.

It was however, wonderful to come home on Sunday and see my beautiful younger two children who I missed terribly. Granny and Grandad had looked after them wonderfully and they were looking well and happy, excited to see all the gifts we had brought with us, of course we spoilt them as always.

Now it is back to the daily housework and sorting out. 4 loads of washing later and chores have settled me back into the routine quickly enough. Elizabeth is back to work tomorrow and possibly for the next 4 days, she is quite happy though as she needs some money to pay for her trip expenses.