Monday, August 31, 2009

An interesting few days

It has been a very strange weekend. On Thursday morning my Mom had a very bad turn at the shops and was rushed to our local hospital where her heart dropped to just 20 beats per minute (effectively stopping). Luckily she was in the emergency room when it happened and they managed to revive her. After a series of tests, they sent her home on Saturday afternoon all hooked up to a heart recorder/monitor and today (Monday) she is going for an ultrasound of her heart and for more tests. It doesn't appear that she had a heart attack, but rather is experiencing arythmia (irregular heartbeat).

The good news is that she is feeling a lot better and looking well, although tired.

Ivan came home from Bolivia on Friday, a few hours late - after travelling for about 42 hours.
Saturday and Sunday we gardened and Ivan cut down a few branches of the trees overhanging our roof. Needless to say the branches reacted badly to this and attacked back. Result one battered and bruised face.

It was a beautiful weekend, our 'winter' temperature reached 30 degrees on Sunday and the children took advantage of the recent warm weather that has heated up our pool water enough for a swim. Elizabeth said it was cold but refreshing.
A lovely weekend.
Ivan home, Mom alive and family fun and work together.
I wonder what this week will bring.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Concert Band Eisteddfod

In January this year, Sarah joined Concert Band at school and today participated in the Silkstone Eisteddfod. They played two great pieces and were awarded a gold award for their efforts. It has been lovely to watch her skill improve and the whole band grow and develop. This is the most junior of the West Moreton Anglican College bands and a great starting point for all the budding musicians. I enjoyed watching and listening to them perform - well done Sarah.

Sarah practising beforehand and after the award ceremony - standing with Mrs Kennedy - the Music school receptionist and behind the scenes lifesaver.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Farewell to a Great Lady.

Mary McCandless passed away 20th August 2009, age nearly 92.

This is the final photo taken as recently as July 2009 of Ivan's wonderful Grandmother Mary McCandless. Ivan, Elizabeth and I were lucky enough to visit and it was wonderful to see her joy at meeting one of her Australian grandchildren. Her greatest wish was to meet all the others and although this was not possible, she was quite content. During our visit, she talked about her husband who had passed away about 20 years ago and her words were that she was 'ready to join him.'
I know that he will be waiting for her tonight and that their great love for each other will continue.
My thoughts and prayers are with her children at this time of sadness and also her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Great-Granny we will miss you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Domestic Goddess

Today I have been a 'Domestic Goddess!'

Now I am not adverse to housework, but there are so many other things that I love filling my day with, that I tend to do what is required, when needed and avoid the rest at all costs.

Today I did not have to take the children to school (again - thanks Mom), so hopped into some old clothes, dragged out the 'dead elephant' (vacuum cleaner) and started at one end of the house cleaning. I achieved miracles and even did all the little annoying tasks that I kept ignoring - like defrosting the bar fridge and even the big one in the laundry.

I think the ice shows that it needed doing.

I also wiped down window sills, shortened my new blinds, washed floors and took down the doorbell that has not worked for the past 3 years. I have hung out and brought in a load of washing and even ironed it. Cleaned the whole kitchen including the utensil holder and put a roast lamb in the oven.

I feel that I deserve the award for Domestic Goddess of the day - so am going to now go and reward myself with a hot, deep bubble bath and a book for 1/2 hour before the children get home.

New Blinds as well.

The Before and the After.

When we moved into the house, every window was decorated with net curtains. Now I don't mind some net, but it was a little too much. Over time I have taken down various curtains and replaced them and finally it was time for the bathrooms.

I got a great deal on blinds for the children's bathroom, toilet and also my en-suite and again with Dad and Mom's help hung all the blinds. Now we can use the bathroom without having to close the windows for privacy. Today I even tackled shortening them, this time by myself and I succeeded so am really happy. They look classy and elegant.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

He can do anything - We can do anything!

Broken Taps and Getting out the big guns

If you look closely at the cold tap on the right, you will see the washer at the bottom - now this should be at the top holding the handle on. Our house is 18 years old and is beginning to need some TLC. I haven't had a hot water tap for ages in my bathroom sink and the children's was just dreadful. So Dad kindly offered to help me replace them all.

Working in such a cramped space made life really difficult.

As always these tasks end up being far more difficult than first thought and although we managed to replace my taps on Friday in about 3 hours, the children's bathroom proved a different story. After 5 frustrating hours, we had it all connected but were worried about the old copper piping, it was kinked! We switched on the water and instead of a fountain of water into the sink, we had one underneath.
So it was off to the local hardware store before he closed at 2pm to buy a few more fittings and finally around 3.30pm - it was all finished.

My lovely new taps. I can't use them yet, as I am waiting for the silicone to cure under the drain-hole, but now hopefully I will be able to wash my face in hot water instead of cold.
Thanks Dad - you are an amazing man.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Public Holiday

As a stay-at-home Mom for 20 years, I have always struggled with weekends and public holidays - I have often complained that I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Holiday time for me is when I leave my house, travel with Ivan, go on holiday with the children or have some time away with my friend. I am never not working when I am home and if I take time out to just indulge me - it is just that an indulgence.

Now yesterday was a public holiday and the children had the day off school. Elizabeth worked in the morning, but I took the day off. It was only last night as I was heading to bed that I realised that I had completely taken the day off. This was a first. I had still done a load of washing, washed the dishes, fed my children but in my head I had the day off.

I spent the day scrapbooking, I sat in front of my computer for most of the day - creating journalling boxes, decorating my album and indulging my passion for my hobby. I did not think about all the chores I had to do, I did not feel as though I was letting anyone down and I did not feel like I was 'indulging me!' I was just taking a public holiday.

What was the difference, I don't really know, but now that I have experienced this, I know that I will be able to do it again. I will allow myself to take a day off on a weekend to relax and not fill it with all the things that have to be done. I will not feel guilty about not achieving all the things that are always going to be there for me to do. I am allowed to live a 'normal' not a Superwoman life.

I can stay at home and have a public holiday or a weekend and I also realise that I can allow Ivan to do the same. So many of our weekends are tainted with my frustration that he does not 'achieve' all the chores that need doing. I forget that he too needs some down time and that he does not need to work all weekend, every weekend in the garden, around the house. We don't have to be busy all the time.

This has been a liberating and powerful experience, so to everyone who has a public holiday or weekend coming up - remember you too can just give yourself a day off.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scrapbooking morning

It has been a wonderful morning. The children have the day off school, so I decided to spend the morning scrapbooking. I have been working on my Alice Springs album, as I am seeing my friend Michelle on Sunday afternoon and want to show it to her.

I only have a few pages to go, that is because I forgot to print about 10 photos, will do those tomorrow and then it will be completed. I am so glad as I now have another finished project.

So my achievement for today - 26 pages of journalling boxes and decorating.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


What is it to see yourself as a failure?

I am not sure if anyone has a real answer to this question, for it is out of failures that huge leaps of success are sometimes born. Yet, we are taught from a very young age to fear failure. Schools test and mark us on everything that we do, even our attendance is marked off daily and not appearing is seen as a failure. Failure on behalf of our parents who do not get us to school, failure on behalf of ourselves that we would rather be somewhere else; failure to appreciate the opportunities we are given.

Failure is a very big word and carries with it, massive amounts of guilt.

I have feared failing my whole life. If I gave up on something then I was a failure. If I didn't not achieve that 100% - I was a failure. If I was not the very best person that I could be - I was a failure. If I asked for help - I was a failure.

I have realised that failing is not something to fear. Failing can just be a choice, or maybe it is because I do not have the skills required, but most importantly failing at something usually results because I do not want to do/achieve/finish something. I wonder why I ever thought that I had to do/achieve/finish these things in my life.

It has taken me over 45 years to realise that I cannot fail (Yes, I guess I can in reality); but the sense of guilt of failure is so much less when I look at it rather as a choice issue. I fail because I chose a different path, I fail because I chose not to be interested or to try to conform to what is required from an outside source. I do not however fail ME! I only fail the task - it is not personal.

All of the above post has resulted from a recent choice that I have made.

I have chosen to drop my online religion course for this semester. When I first started thinking about this, I feared being seen as a failure by my family, friends and strangers; even the lecturer who doesn't know me or even care. It took me a couple of days, some discussion with Elizabeth and Ivan and then I made a choice. I was not enjoying the course, I did not need to be doing it and I could chose to drop it. The sense of relief and peace was immense. I had not let anyone down, especially myself. Instead I had chosen to follow my dreams. I had tasted something and decided that I did not like it. I could chosen to stop, chosen to walk away and I was not a failure.

What path are you walking today? Are you failing or are you choosing?


Check out Vesta-poetry for my latest uni attempts:

I am loving the course.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Scrapbooking at last

My scrapbooking fell by the wayside last semester with my university commitments and it has been very hard to get motivated again. I have however, recently placed all my Alice Springs photos into a picfolio (slide-in) album and started doing the journalling boxes. I am up to page 20 in that and just doing a few at a time.

For my recent USA and UK trip I have decided to do a creative memories digital album, I am so enjoying the process and have just completed another 15 pages - total now up to 44 pages. It is looking wonderful and the process is easy and fun. I am slowly learning how the program works and experimenting with different layouts. It is much quicker than a traditional album, so heres hoping that it turns out well.

Almost Springtime

Not a great photo of the rosebed sun in the wrong place

It is almost spring in Brisbane, not that it is ever really winter. I know this because the mornings are lighter and my roses have started shooting even before they have had their winter prune.
Also my Jasmine creeper that sits outside my study window is starting to bud.
Today the temperature is a beautiful 22 degrees in the shade on my patio and I decided to prune and feed my roses.
Now this is something that Ivan and I usually do together, I prune and he turns and weeds the bed, but he is not here so all on my own, I pruned, weeded, turned the bed, watered and fed the roses. I am feeling nurtured and refreshed.

Yesterday, I was feeling tired and unwell, so this earth energy has renewed me and I feel tired but satisfied. Look out in the next few weeks, for some lovely photos of the rose bed as the new blooms appear.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dean's List

Today I received a letter from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Queensland, to congratulate me on my excellent first semester results and inform me that I had made the Dean's list. My final GPA for the semester was 6.33 (out of a possible 7). Now the challenge - how do I match that this semester.

Faculty of Arts Dean’s Commendation for High Achievement

We are writing to congratulate you on your excellent results during Semester One, 2009.
These results place you in the top band of students enrolled in your program. This is an achievement of which you can be justifiably proud.

Your academic transcript has been annotated to show that you have been included on the Dean's List for Semester One, 2009. A copy of this List is displayed on the Faculty noticeboard.

We extend our warmest congratulations on your academic achievement during this year, and wish you well in your future pursuits.

Yours sincerely
Professor Richard Fotheringham
Executive Dean
Faculty of Arts

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Unchained Melody

At last I have my MP3 player working. I bought this from Elizabeth when she updated to an iPod and I have not really used it as I did not take the time to figure the thing out properly. Anyway on Monday at uni I thought I would listen to it and yes, it was flat - total frustration.

It is now fully charged and this morning I have floated around the house on a cushion of music, doing my chores. At the moment I have 'Unchained Melody' playing on repeat. It is one of my favourite pieces of music and whenever it ends I never want to move onto the next song, so have it on repeat for the moment, it is wonderful.

If anyone out there in the blogger world knows how to add a piece of music to my Blog, please will you send me the instructions. As it would be great to be able to add this great song to this post, but sorry folks - don't know how????

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bathing the Dog!

Our Abby is such a silly dog. We don't believe in bathing dogs too often, as it destroys their natural oils and means that they then require even more bathing.
But Abby has been a little smelly (not much, just a little) and itchy for a while now, so I decided to let Tracey come in and give her a wash and nail clip. It was so funny! Tracey was calm and wonderful with her, but I was glad that Dad was here to help. He is so good with Abby and calmly helped.
Abby whimpered, cried and talked through the whole experience. The end result a damp, happy dog, who smells a whole lot better. Her treat - Grandad took her for a walk and she got a biscuit.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy 71st Birthday

Last night we celebrated my Dad's 71st birthday with a yummy roast lamb dinner.
A lottery ticket was his first gift and if he won the $20 million it would be the best present, but if he won nothing then it would be the worst.
A new David Attenborough DVD and a photo with me. We both look really serious.
I cannot believe Dad is 71, he is so healthy, fit and still has all his amazing sense of humour and intelligence. The only failing is his hearing and I think sometimes in our family, is thinks this is a blessing rather than a curse.
Happy Birthday Dad!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Travelling again

My lovely husband is travelling again. Every time that he travels I pack his case for him. It is my way of going along and him knowing how much I am going to miss him. I have done this for the 20 years of our marriage and each and every case I have packed and unpacked for him, has been filled with not only his clothes but my love and safe wishes for his journey.

I sure will miss him once more as he is away for the month of August. I know that he misses us all very much and just this one little thing means that I can keep him safe and filled with my love, then I am happy.

Safe Travels Ivan.