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Showing posts from January, 2017

Bryn's last year at primary school...

Today was a big milestone day in this house; our Bryn started his final year in primary school. Every time I thought of this day during the last year, I felt my guts jig. Like almost every other parent whose child seems to be growing at the speed of light in front of them, I stand gaping helplessly at the prospect of my baby leaving home. Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself, but seriously, I'm afraid to blink. Don't blink, whatever you do, just don't blink.

I've posted most of these photos in another post on this blog, but he's so cute, I don't think it'll do any harm to repost them all these years later.


Look at those shorts! They're like culottes, he inherited them from his big brothers, and Ari just grew out of them last year. His uniform was all size 4 and it still swam on him.


He had great hair, don't you think? The relevance of this question will become clear further down. He was pretty excited that morning. He'd spent the previous 3.5 …

Home [mini] reno...

Whoa! It has been a busy week! I can't believe it's the weekend already, and even the weekend is looking chockers. School starts back on Tuesday for the younger boys. These school holidays seemed to disappear into a vacuum. It wasn't so many years ago, that the holidays seemed to drag on with bored kids, and chaos and mayhem. These holidays have been low-key, but not boring.
This week - well, since last weekend - has been all about a mini renovation of the living room. Here's what it looked like before last weekend...

We started off by relieving the furniture gridlock. Over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we passed on the bits and pieces in the picture below... Oh, a funny story! See the cabinet with the glass door, and the bust at the bottom. Well, the lady who put her hand up for the cabinet also asked if the bust was available. I had to tell her that was my dad's head that my mum had sculpted, and so, no, my dad's head was not for sale!

Next. we took the coffe…

New horizons...

Yesterday, I withdrew from the doctorate I've been working on for the past 3.5 years. I received condolences on my loss, but none are needed. This is a happy change for me.
I had come to realise that the reasons I entered the doctorate either no longer applied or were not going to be realised by continuing on. With the difficulties I had been having with my supervisor because of her inappropriate comments on my life outside of the doctorate, and her persistently unstable emotional state - swinging wildy and unpredictably from extreme praise to extreme displeasure in the span of a week - it was a relief to realised I need not continue in this abusive relationship.
Having spoken to the powers that be, I found understanding for my position, but nothing suitable as a proposed solution. It was a compromise which would see me working with a panel of academics overseeing my progress which seemed feasible. However, this panel would still include the supervisor who was causing me both men…

Summer bucket list...

I'm a doer. I tend to like to 'think up problems' as Dave puts it, and then want to solve them YESTERDAY.

Of course, I don't see it that way at all. From my perspective it's more like identifying areas of potential improvement and then hatching a plan to IMPROVE. I like my version better.

So, the things I've decided to improve this summer...

1.  Repack the garage. You know how it is, everything is nicely stacked and put away, and you get a new tv, or it's someone's birthday and they get a something is a box, or the dog food comes in these big, frankly, unnecessary boxes. Hello, supplier? You're delivering by courier to the door, and the food is already in a tough bag and really isn't going to burst. Honestly, it's just fine without the boxes - which are now a shrine to cardboard in my garage.

2. Tidy and sweep out the laundry. Our laundry is downstairs, next to the garage, and has a badly stain cement floor, so we don't bother washing it…

Hospital policy and Ari's birth...

Every now and then I see someone ask about birth weights and times of delivery (whether before or after 40 weeks). It's always a bit of shock to the system when the inevitable prem birth (36 weeks or earlier) is mentioned. Often these prem babies weigh the same, if not more than Ari did at birth.

You see, Ari was born at 41 weeks and three days. So, a week and a half past his estimated due date. He weighed 2.6kg, which is the average weight of a baby born at 36 weeks.


For having been born at 41.5, Ari was in the 3rd percentile for gestational age. Now, that in itself is not significant - many smaller babies are small because their parents (particularly, the mothers) are small in stature. Small babies are not surprising in those cases.

However, my first three babies were 4.5, 4.0, and 3.9kg each. So, my babies tended to be bigger than average for gestational age, not smaller.

This has often had me wondering what would have happened if I had been managed within the hospital system. …

Bryn's holiday...

It's been pretty quiet around the house for the past few days. We're experiencing what it would have been like to have two kids.

Very quiet.

Too quiet (I know Dave doesn't believe there is any such thing as 'too quiet', but this is my blog, and for me it's just too quiet).

Mind you, that said, I have to say, of our four, the pairing of Lukas and Ari was alway going to be the most harmonious. They're both so laid back - Ari does chill with a fair bit of energy, but he's a cheerful kid who doesn't get stroppy because someone is looking at him in an annoying way. I'm pretty sure those two get that easy going nature from their dad, because they sure as hell don't get is from their mum. Had we had just Erik and Bryn here, it would have been quite a different story. Both of those boys are very emotionally charged - yes, they probably get that from their mother. I'm not criticising them at all, it's just how it is. They're highly strung…

50 things about me...

1 - I cannot sit still, it makes me irritable. I have to be shaking my legs, or bouncing, or swinging in a chair. (I LOVE my egg chair!)
2 - The only reality shows I like are 'Real Crimes' shows.

3 - I haven't read a novel in at least for years, and I haven't listened to one either. As a writer, I have a strange kind of guilt about this.

4 - I get eye strain so bad that it feels like my eyes are swollen and on the brink of bursting. I get eye strain in both eyes even though I can't see a damn thing out of the left eye. It just doesn't seem fair.

5 - I like Brussels sprouts.

6 - Coconut oil smells like vomit to me.

7 - My kids and I share a wicked sense of humour that poor Dave just doesn't get. It's quick and a lot like sparring, but all in good fun. He just thinks we're talking nonsense. I secretly love that I've passed my sense of humour onto them.

8 - I love modern art.

9 - I've cried at the deaths of five public personalities. In order:  John Ca…

Mine and Harlem's One Year Anniversary!

(This post was written on the 11th of January, but because Princess - that's Harlem, not me, in case you're confused - needed a toilet break, it didn't get posted until after midnight)

One year ago today, I went to the Guide Dogs Victoria campus and was shown my room and told to settle in and then come to the common room.

I remember feeling just a little disappointed that Harlem wasn't brought to my room immediately, but figured it would be soon. That was at 9am.

During the morning I and five other new guide dog handlers listened to talks about the history of guide dogs, how to care for a guide dog, how the pet insurance we were given would work, and how to monitor our dogs for health and wellbeing.

Then we had lunch.

After lunch we did some training with our instructors on how to use the harness, and what basic commands we'd need up front - and how to give those commands (it's definitely not as simple as saying, 'Take me to the shops.'

All of this was …

Working each day at a time...

Change is hard.

They said it takes six weeks for a new habit to form. I tend to think it's not so much about time as it is about mindset. Remembering that you are trying to make a change is probably the hardest part.

I keep finding myself slipping into the habits I am leaving behind. It's a two step forward, one step back situation. It's about developing persistence, reminding yourself to remember each day, only that day. If you can stay on course that day, it is one drop of water on the stone.

When my kids were little, before Bryn and Ari were born, I had very unhealthy ways of dealing with the daily stress of parenting. I would blow up when stressed, I would throw stuff, slam things, and yes, I smacked. I smacked a lot. I smacked every day, often more than once a day. I have a lot shame about that period of parenting, and in so many ways, I see the negative impact it had on the older boys - particularly Erik, who took the brunt of my anger.

Knowing I was doing wrong, I …

The best day of my life... This year.

Yesterday was so exciting for me that I crashed into bed before having a chance to blog about the big event of the day.


??????????????? I signed the contract for my book!

This is surreal for me. I've been talking about getting a book published for so long now - since I started this blog eleven years ago. In the intervening decade  I've had quite a few pieces of writing published in other people's books (anthologies), magazines, online and so on, but never a book is solely my work.

So, this one is completely my own. The novel is aimed at a young adult audience (though I've had adult readers who have told me they'd happily read this book just for themselves), and the working title is Hidden. The novel draws on the mythology of Icelandic elves - the kind Tolkien based his elves on, though Icelandic elves don't use bows and arrows or where fine jewellery and long robes.

Hidden is in the final editing phase at the moment and will be launched somewhere in Melbourne in …

Code Cracking Housewife...

Calm the farm - I don't consider myself a housewife. First of all, I respect real housewives enough to acknowledge I lack all the skill and determination it takes to run a household well, I wouldn't belittle the works of housewives by passing myself off as one. Second, I can be a crappy wife at times - not that Dave would ever say as much, he is both smarter and nicer than me - so, no house in its right mind would have me. I'm more like a house grandma, here for all the fun bits, but I get tired and need a nanna naps regularly.
Anyway, I was quite pleased with myself yesterday when I figured out how to manipulate code to get a widget I'm particularly fond of to work on this new dynamic blog template. When I changed my blog template on the 1st I discovered my Statcounter widget stopped recording visits. I knew people were visiting because I actually talked to some of them, but none were registering on the widget. 
I LOVE this widget. It tells me how many people have vi…

When having major dental surgery...

Feel free to skip the rambling backstory and move on to the helpful tips I found - just below the next image...

In early February, I'm having major dental surgery. It has been a long time coming. I've been suffering broken teeth for 20 years now, Mostly in previously filled teeth - of which I've had an extraordinary number - some not. I never had braces as a child despite having very crooked and gappy teeth. Not only was it prohibitively expensive, but I have suffered dentist phobia ever since having a root canal without anaesthesia at the age of four (my front teeth had been knocked out in an accident and the only dentist in the very small village I lived in at the time, panicked - or didn't really care enough - and did the root canal without anaesthesia).
I have avoided dentists most of my life and my dental hygiene has not been the greatest - I've never flossed, like ever. My own kids didn't see a dentist until early 2015. None had cavities despite being 15…

What's your special skill?

Mine is catching dog vomit.

Yes, really.

When I was in training with Harlem last January one of our group's instructors told us a story about a guide dog handler in Melbourne who expertly caught her dog's vomit in a toileting bag in the back seat of a cab. She was on her way somewhere (obviously), when suddenly her dog started heaving. Somehow, through her panic not to have her guide throw up in the back of the cab (cab drivers can be very touchy about dogs in their cabs at the best of times), she whipped out a toileting bag and placed it over her dog's snout - much like a feeding bag for a horse.

At the time, I remember being very impressed by the story of this handler's lateral thinking skills.

A few months later I found myself sitting in a carpeted coffee shop in the CBD, when Harlem started heaving. He is prone to doing this in the late afternoon because he starts anticipating dinner about 1.5-2 hours before he is due to be fed and he hyper-salivates at the thought…

Goodbye TV

No, no, no, I haven't gone and thrown the tv in a box in the garage again - Luey is still traumatised from the time I packed away the TV when he was two and he had to call his Grandad Lester to ask for advice about what a boy was to do now that mum packed up his 'Best friend' (I kid you not).

No, this time it is just the realisation that we simply do not watch scheduled television these days - unless it is to check the news, but even then it's easier to just look online, or better still not follow the news at all. I could go on here about the news being a way to keep us all paralysed with fear and hopelessness, but that's another blog post.

Dave and I, and well everyone in this geeky household, have been waiting with baited breath for three years now to see the next instalment of Steven Moffat's Sherlock Holmes - we were getting quick blue in the face, you know. It didn't disappoint but don't worry - no spoilers here (I know how it goes). But here'…
Happy 2017 Everyone!
Can it be? Has Sif actually sat down at her keyboard, opened her blog, and wrote a post? It must be a New Years Miracle! Well, something like that, anyway.
This is the second time I attempt this blog post. The first time I tried using VoiceOver, but it seems I still have a ways to go with that particular accessibility mode. So, I'm back to using zoom for the time being, I guess.
Today, I'm going to list my intentions for 2017. I thought this might be a good way to focus my thoughts on the wonderful year ahead. Let's get to it!
In 2017, I intend to:
* Breathe - breathe deeply, expand my lungs, push my diaphragm down, relax my shoulders, and let those endorphins flow. Take deep breaths when I feel overwhelmed, or angry, or sad.
* Withdraw from the PhD.
* Hug a tree - that is get in touch (literally) with nature. Yesterday was a beautiful day and I went out into the back yard and lay down in the grass. I felt the blades prickle my skin and it grounded me…