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Showing posts from June, 2014

My PhD baby...

When I started my Masters of Education I was five months pregnant with Erik. By the time I finished it four years later, Lukas was 18 months old. I took a five year break from study and during that time had Bryn, but then when I started my Master of Creative Writing I was five months pregnant with Ari.

So, this PhD is the first time in 15 years I do a degree and am not pregnant.

I suspect my body/brain isn't coping too well with this anomaly.

You see in early May I started having dreams about babies. Vivid dreams about being pregnant or giving birth. So vivid, in fact, I started to wonder if I could be pregnant. The thing is, if I was pregnant I would have had to have been at least 20 weeks pregnant in early May, and I had not skipped a period all year.

Obviously, this does happen, women do get pregnant and still experience regular bleeding - often called deciduous bleeding (yes, I have researched this, thus was my paranoia). And there was an entire television series dedicated to…

On the eve of my colloquium...

This week has been interesting. Our car's alternator died on Saturday - after 15.5 years of service, so we can't really complain about that. The car went into the shop on Monday and we got her back yesterday afternoon - she purrs now!

This meant mum has almost been living at our house for three days, ferrying us all around, which has been completely brilliant - I don't know what we would have done, otherwise, particularly with the horrid weather Melbourne has had this week!

I haven't gotten into the office like I had hoped this week though. As for 'thinking about nothing but the colloquium' as I was advised by my supervisor, yes, well, that was never really on the cards, but it's been even more challenging that usual this week.

Yesterday Lukas entered teen hood, and to celebrate we got him a couple of t-shirts and a box of Nutri-grain…

Well, that is what he thought, anyway…

We had a bit of fun with him because he'd asked for an amp, or a new base guitar…

The weather outside is frightful...

As you can tell it's a bit windy and rainy in Melbourne today. I have it on good authority though that this is EXACTLY like Iceland in the middle of summer - so, Melbournians, drink your cocoa which a chaser of cement and as they say, 'Harden the f@$K up!'
Today, I don't feel particularly Icelandic. I don't relish sideways rain.
I have been working on the speech I have to give on Friday at the start of my colloquium meeting. I need to practice, practice, practice what I'm going to say. I can't talk for shorter than ten minutes - which won't be a problem as I have so much to cover. I also need to cover everything in such a way as to not confuse everyone with disjointed garble.
I'm nervous. When I think about it, I'm very, very nervous. So, I try not to think about it too much. Only in the wee, dark hours, when I can't to a single thing about all my angsty angst.
I imagine you will all sigh a sigh of relief on Friday afternoon when I'm fi…

Pivotal Moments...

I have just been inspired to write this blog after a conversation with the Grumpy Old Man about a project Erik is doing at high school. He has to develop a scrapbook of his life, and write about life, including a reflection on his life from a parent. As part of this scrapbook, Erik needs to identify two pivotal moments in his life, and this is what the Grumpy Old Man and I were discussing. The Grumpy Old Man had not, yet, decided what might be two pivotal moments in Erik's life but it took me no time at all to identify what I believe have been to two top pivotal moments in Erik's life to date...

Age 7:

Erik was being homeschooled. That is unschooled. He had not attended kindergarten or prep, or grade one. He had attended a homeschooling group once a week for a period of months but as we had no car and the group was over an hours travel each way, out into the hills, late during my pregnancy with Bryn, we'd given up the long distance travel and had not hooked up with any oth…

Feeling All Academic-like...

It's just gone midnight and I've just submitted the abstract and biographical note for the AAWP Conference 2014 - into the refereed papers section, no less, even though they say not to do that if you're a first time conference attendee (hey, my supervisor told me to do it!)...

Having also submitted my colloquium document today - well, technically yesterday, but you know what I mean - I'm feel all academic-like!

Up until this point I've just been a student at a university doing research, all alone and unseen, untested. But from today, I'm putting all that research 'out there' to be prodded and poked and scrutinised. The baby metaphor comes to mind, like any work of creation, I've poured myself into this project and now people are going to decide whether my baby is pretty and smart and full of potential, or if I should abandon it by the roadside and hope gypsies pick it up...

I've really been looking forward to putting myself out there, and puttin…

Eeeek!

Today is the biggest day of this year for me!

I do realise that with more than six months remaining of the year, that's quite a statement, but I believe it is true.

You see, today I'm going to hand in my Colloquium Document (totally worthy of capitalisation), for review. In about two weeks I'll then have a meeting with four other academics where I will explain my thesis proposal and answer questions, but today is the very last day that I will work on the document that those academics will base all their questions on.

Today is the culmination of 12 months work. All the creative work, all the research, and writing the first chapter of my thesis (which I'm now thinking may need to be two chapters, but that's an issue for after the colloquium).

I have until Monday to hand this document in but, well, my supervisor feels it's great as is. I really, really, really hope she's right!

Wish me luck!

Hello dear regular reader...

It's funny, I've been writing this blog for 8.5 years and in recent years I've kept a stat counter running in the background so I am able to see how many people visit the blog and whence they hail, it's a very one sided relationship, but I don't mind. Most visitors to the blog are just passing through, checking out my galifreyan tramp stamp design (which, I probably will never get), or reading levels in primary school (these posts are oddly popular). Some, though, have become regulars and I find myself looking for them in the stats.

I have a regular reader in Canberra - I know you'll read this because you come to the blog most days, occasionally two or three times a day. I have a regular in Balwyn and another in Glen Waverley. There is a regular in Box Hill - who may or may not be a mum from school. I have a regular who comes up as 'Melbourne' but without a suburb designation - hi there, I really appreciate your dedication to my blog (in case you aren&#…

The perfect 1950s couple, inverted.

Thankfully campus is open on the Queen's Birthday holiday (does that mean Deakin is republican???). So, I get to be in the office today, which kills two birds with one stone; I can work on the abstract for the upcoming conference submission, and I don't have to spend a day listening to my kids squabble because their routine has been disrupted…

By children, I mostly mean the younger two, and by disrupted I essentially mean Ari. He doesn't cope well with change - he is a lot like Erik in this - he gets all hyper and provocative, expecting something exciting to happen because it's Monday and he's not at school. I know he'll eventually outgrow this stage, and don't get me wrong, I think he is perfectly adorable, but I'm just as happy not to have to deal with it while I'm stressed about Uni work.

This office has been a godsend. It's an adult sanctuary. I sound like every cliche of a career woman ever published.

Sometimes I wonder if The Grumpy Old Ma…

Icarus...

I love the name Icarus and had Ari been born a week later than he was, I would have named him Icarus - and called him Ari as a nick name instead.

Icarus comes from Greek mythology. He was the son of Daedalus, a master craftsman, and the story goes that Daedalus built Icarus wings from feathers and wax, so he could escape the island of Crete. Before Icarus took off, his father warned him not to fly too close to the ocean lest his feathers became water logged, and not to fly too close to the sun lest the wax holding the feathers together should melt.



Icarus, of course, flew too close to the sun, his wings disintegrated and he fell into the sea and drowned.

So, you might be wondering why this is one of my favourite myths and why I would name my child after a fool.

Good questions. You see I don't see the story of Icarus as a tale of failure, but rather a tale of innovation and success, but a warning to understand your limitations and work with them; don't lose your head or you mig…

Reward Charts for ignoring anxiety...

Yesterday I received an email from our class representative for Ari´s class, she was passing on the slides from an information session which had been held at the school early this week about anxiety in children.

I read through the slides with Erik and Lukas last night - partly to raise the topic of anxiety and partly just for fun; to see what the advice was. All three of us recognised that Bryn is suffering some anxiety at the moment and that Erik used to suffer considerable anxiety, but that both Lukas and Ari seem not to have.

We looked at the symptoms and the behaviours, and how to deal with the behaviours. Several of the suggested approaches to handling the behaviours - particularly school avoidance - seem to be in the form of praise and reward charts.


I found it interesting that my boys saw straight through the manipulation of praise and reward charts - particularly the suggestion of a sticker chart for 'going to school'. They both expressed the attitude that a sticker wa…

The seduction of words...

The words tease me
pulling at me here and there
dancing in, then slinking away
with a come hither gaze
they laugh

The white pixelated page
spread like a satin sheet
cool to the touch
enticing and intimidating
it scolds me

Make love to the words
on the satin sheets
succumb
be vulnerable
let go

Neuro-opthalmology...

I'm off to the neuro-opthalmology outpatient clinic at the Royal Melbourne Eye and Ear hospital today. I've cancelled this appointment twice already, I should have gone in March. Okay, I cancelled the first appointment, and then just never showed up for the second appointment. You see, this isn't about me at all and I have to wonder why I'm paying $30 in parking for the privilege of having some plucky little neuro-op get all excited over the new show-and-tell he'll have for his next conference.

I initially went to the Eye and Ear in February this year (I think, I'm not good with dates), because my own ophthalmologist was concerned that I had 'suddenly' lost a considerable amount of vision in my right eye (the only eye which actually registers anything at all). She was basing this on a test done by another private op a few years ago when I was being assessed for my cosmetic surgery to straight my left eye. That op was an idiot and for some reason had co…

Reading blogs...

I've started reading blogs again.

I completely stopped reading blogs a couple of years ago. I just didn't have enough time to read them between finding out if I was left or right brained, or sharing news bytes about how appalling the Liberal party was being (because not enough people in my friends list understood this, right).

Anyway, last week, in lieu of reading and posting on Facebook, I started out reading a  lot of threads on a popular Australian parenting forum, but I soon became disillusioned by what I was reading...

As an aside, I've been thinking a lot about a quote from the late Maya Angelou 'People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.'

This rings very true for me, and reading the forum really highlighted this for me, you can see it in how people react to one another, but also it is obvious that a lot of people are completely unaware of how what they say and causes others to feel.

This had…

The year I spent in bed...

If I were to write a memoir about this year of my life, it would be titled, 'The Year I Spent In Bed'. Not because I have been sick, or even because I have spent the entire year in bed, but because it seems to me that is all I want to do this year.

I have felt so deathly tired all year. I get up, go to uni (most days, anyway, but not today and not last Friday, or Thursday, and not tomorrow, but maybe for a bit on Wednesday), come home and go to bed. On weekends, if I'm not out of the house on an errand, I'm usually to be found in my bed.

I'm not sleeping all the time, in fact, I only ever doze on and off, and rarely sleep properly at night. It's just that I find I do all my best thinking in bed and the work I do requires a helluva lot of thinking!

This morning I've been reading blogs by other writers doing a PhD, as well as the odd (and they're usually odd, one way or another) creative writing blog. After a few hours doing that I feel exhausted. My head…