Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gratitude journal

Well, the reli'es have returned to whence they came, the presents have all been opened, admired or returned and the angel atop the Christmas tree is starting to show the strains of the last week and is beginning to droop.  It's hard to believe Christmas is over and a new year is soon to begin.

Each new year, TD No. 2 and I do our obligatory list of resolutions for the impending year, only to be opened again the following new year's eve.  I decided to open last year's resolutions early in preparation for the new ones I will assign myself.  My list for 2010 is reminiscent of the usual "must do's" of my life - "Get fit"; "Lose a dress size"; "Compete in the Mother's Day Fun Run"; "Be assertive"; "Spend more time with hubby" etc.  Looking over this list, I'm pretty happy to report I've managed to achieve most of what I set myself for 2010 (Mother's Day Fun Run was NOT one of them!). 

Contemplating 2011, however, I'm going to try something different and instead of writing up a list of what's missing in my life, I'm going to write a list of everything I'm grateful for - in true Oprah style!  I only hope I have enough paper to hold everything I want to write because I am grateful for so much.

Happy new year everyone and may you have lots in your life to be truly grateful for. XXX

Friday, December 10, 2010

My true self

I'm enrolled in next semester already even though I really don't want to think about next semester at the moment.  Because I was still umming and ahhing about how many subjects to take, I enrolled in four so that when I finally made up my mind, I could just drop what I couldn't manage.  Thanks to some great advice, I now feel more comfortable with my decision to only do two subjects next semester - Italian and Romantic and Victorian Literature.  I know within myself that my mental state at the moment will only allow me to do two!  My dream of being a Teacher/Librarian certainly won't happen overnight.  Besides, I don't want to overload on responsibility - I'm having a middle-age meltdown at the moment.

I recently read an article titled 'From adolescence to adulthood - helping your children take the steps to becoming adults'.  One of the key pieces of advice in this article suggests, 'Don't take on their problems'.  This hit a chord with me because I realise this is exactly what I've been doing.  My automatic protectivenss of my children is hard to turn off and I find myself always being one step ahead of them so they don't get hurt.  A hard habit to break after 17 years but I realise this is becoming extremely stressful.  It's hard to let go of my adolescent but I need to let her make mistakes in order for her to learn.  It's like constantly keeping an eye on your toddler in order that they don't fall or bang into something.  They need to fall every now and again and besides, it's very tiring being protective!!!!

I have also been told by a psychologist friend that my recurring dream of the last year and a half about babies, isn't about me being abandoned by my growing children as I had self-analysed.  According to her, Jung would've said it's about me having to be nurtured!!  I'll take that.  My intention to try and master the art of meditation and yoga might be just what the doctor ordered. Or a week on a deserted island might be even better!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Well, I suppose it was inevitable.  Having listened to SH No. 1 coughing so hard I thought he was going to lose a lung over the last four weeks, I now have a heavy head cold.  Is there anything worse than having a foggy head, a runny nose, blocked ears, a nagging cough and an aching body?  As you can probably tell, and as my children and husband will attest to, I don't have the most sympathetic bedside manner!  Although I did nurse my Dad through cancer with absolutely tireless care and love, a cold/cough is rather different and all you can do is try and 'ride it through', as Hubby's doctor told him.  When I get sick, I'm annoyed at my body more than anything else and just want to be left alone to ride it through!

So it is with my flu-ridden body that tomorrow morning I must enrol in my new courses for next semester already.  Should I continue with the three subjects that stressed me out so much last semester?  Or should I stick with doing two, but still feel as if my main duties are in the home rather than anywhere else? Somehow I managed to achieve two Distinctions and a High Distinction last semester, even though I was so stressed I've given myself a mystery skin condition!!! 

Going into 2nd year, I've also had to seriously think about exactly what I want to do with this Degree.  I'm majoring in Writing and Literature but as I've posted before, I often think about teaching and lately every time I set foot in the public library, I leave thinking that's what I should be doing.  This morning I did more research on a Teacher-Librarianship.  The only way for me to achieve this is to complete this degree then complete a Graduate Diploma of Education - but wait, there's more! - THEN do a Masters!!!  If I continue taking my time to finish this degree, hopefully I'll be 50 by the time I become a Teacher-Librarian.

Making the subject selection harder for next semester is the fact that the two literature courses I want to do don't start until about four in the afternoon. Which shouldn't be a problem because, after all, I do have a 15 and 16 year old - seniors, who are more than capable of looking after themselves and their little brother.  I just have ride through that nagging mother's guilt!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ashes to ashes

by dailyinvention/flickr

Is it just me or is t.v. produced solely for sports enthusiasts? During the winter and into spring, it's the football - the announcer's screeching and yelling a constant in the background of my Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights.  During the summer, it's the cricket - the drone and dry, banal jokes of the commentator filling the gaps between the occasional 'bonk' of the ball hitting the bat - all day long.  And the weekends are the worst.  Yesterday, I got so sick of listening to SH No. 1 and No. l Son reporting on runs, wickets and overs, I retreated to the spare t.v. downstairs, which doesn't have cable.  There was cricket on chanel Nine, car racing on Seven, golf on Ten, women's football on ABC and an American news programme on SBS.  I watched the American PBS programme which I didn't mind - American politics is SO much more interesting than ours.

I grew up in a family where I was the only girl (apart from mum) amongst Dad and three brothers, so you'd think I would've learned to become involved in it all - but I can't.  It just doesn't interest me at all.  But it's not just sport.  I've come to the realisation that my t.v. needs just don't seem to count.  The kids are all on holidays, so at the moment the background noise during the week consists of I Carly, Drake and Josh and Spongebob.  It's gotten to the stage now that I know when they're watching repeats because although I haven't actually sat down and watched any of these shows, I hear them so constantly, even I know the episodes (and the theme songs) by heart!

On the odd occasion that I do get to watch a Lifestyle programme (Grand Designs, Location, location...), usually when everyone's at work or school, it's inevitable that I'll have to search for the remote which has inadvertantly been left in a place I just wouldn't think to look (the bathroom or the kitchen).

Over the years, I've been an Oprah fan, although recently I've begun to lose interest in many of her topics and the ravings of her self-help "gurus". But I have to admit, I'm kind of  looking forward to seeing her own network. At the moment, I'd pretty much watch anything - as long as it doesn't involve a bat, a ball or a sponge wearing square pants!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Photo by:  D Sharon Pruitt
This morning I started something I've been wanting to do for a while - meditate.  I was up extra early to take TD No. 1 to work and came home to such peaceful surrounds, I thought the time was right.  After familiarising myself with techniques on Google, away I went.

I decided sitting on the deck was the perfect place to proceed.  Not quiet, but peaceful with the sounds of waking birds (and a little traffic, but that's okay).  As I closed my eyes, I began to concentrate on my breathing...

10 seconds in - the cat next door screeched, followed by the dog barking...

11 seconds in - "Now just relax"...

30 seconds in - I begin to smell sea air and am picturing myself cross-legged on the beach, watching the sunrise.

35 seconds in - "Stop frowning and relax"...

40 seconds in - "Oh, hurry up, hurry up - relax and become enlightened"...

This self-talk continued for what seemed like an eternity but was actually only a few seconds and what I was really beginning to notice was my habitual feeling of being rushed.  That any minute now, someone was going to wake and find me - disturb my unskilled meditation practices.  Not just that, but that it was urgent that I get it done, there were things I had to do.  Actually, I didn't have anything to do - I had nothing imperitive that needed my attention - this is just the way I always feel.  Rushed.

After about three minutes or so, I noticed my breathing became slower, my thoughts were fewer and my mind became lighter.  After five minutes, I slowly began to open my eyes, which seemed to be such an effort.  I felt like I'd been asleep.  I felt refreshed.  How hard it was for me to sit still and relax for just five minutes!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Summer lovin'

Finally, the summer holidays are here!  Assignments, exams, lectures and tutes are no more for three whole months!!  In the mean time, all I have to do is wait patiently for the results and deal with two moody, hormone-ridden teenage girls and an over sex-educated eleven year old boy. 

After our earlier enlightened conversation regarding orgasms, on Friday night at a family birthday dinner for SH No. 1, out of the blue he proceeded to regale us with the somewhat explicit details of a sex change procedure on a male wanting to be a female.  I thought my mother-in-law was going to choke on her cake!  Yesterday on the way home from school, he informed me that AIDS started because men were having sex with monkeys.  A scientific fact?  I'm not sure.  Something an 11 year old needs to know?  I think not. It might be time for me to take a trip to the school and speak to the powers that be!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Two down - one to go!!!

I no longer feel as if I'm melting under the study load - I just feel exhausted! 

I completed my nerve-wracking New Communications exam on Friday morning and even though I got there in plenty of time, once I sat at the computer I couldn't stop my hands from shaking!  I walked into the room and for the first time in the whole Semester, the tute was full - I think I was the last to arrive for a change.  I had to find a computer that actually worked - well, they all worked but were so slow and I convinced myself they weren't working.  I changed computers twice before I was satisfied I had one that wouldn't freeze halfway through.  Anyway, after the initial 10 questions where I had myself convinced I was going to fail dismally, I breezed through and managed to get 31 out of 40 - in twenty minutes!

This morning I handed in my last Great Books essay after spending all weekend fighting off a urinary infection while trying to finish it.  I'm not all together satisfied with the final result but I'm so tired, I'm beginning not to care.  I felt almost free after I handed it in and really wanted to do something exciting.  I had no idea what - just SOMETHING!!!  God, I think I've become so boring - the only thing I know how to do any more is study!!!  I thought about going into the city but then couldn't be bothered so I came home and printed off my History assignment due on Monday.  See?  Told you - BORING!!!.  At least I have a week to finish it and then I'll be as free as a bird!!  To do what, I'm not totally sure.  I think I've forgotten how to have fun!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm still melting...

This is where I wish I was at this very moment.  Gliding down the Grand Canal in Venice, the Gondolier (looking strangely like Ricky Martin) gently manoeuvring the gondola through the narrow waterways; the (slightly green) water lapping up around the aging buildings and around the gondola; the occasional warning call of the Goldoliers as they make their way around slender corners, under the little bridges linking one island to the next.  Peace and serenity.  Oh, look...there's Marco Polo's place, the Rialto bridge and the old jail!  I could stay here forever...

Cue the sound of a scratching record...wait a minute, I'm sitting at my (messy) study desk, cramming for an exam I don't want to take; wondering why my TD No. 1 has turned into such a cow (could it be her horrible boyfriend?); asking myself why people insist on ringing constantly when everyone knows I'm studying (again - itsn't that all I ever do?); contemplating my next (and last) two assignments and when I'm going to find the time to finish them and finally, pondering if it's all really worth it and coming to the slow realisation that I'm beginning not to care (obviously, because I clearly wouldn't be blogging if I did).  I was hoping my meltdown of my last post would subside, but clearly, I'm still melting.

Note to self - next semester, two subjects only!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are we there yet?

Oh God, when's it all going to be over?  I am so tired - I don't want to do this anymore!!!! 

I was so proud of the fact that I managed to write a history brief on the French Revolution AND an essay on Creative Commons, both of which were due on the same day.  I managed to finish them both early in order to enjoy a lovely weekend in Melbourne.  Well, my pride has turned to exhaustion as I'm now faced with an exam on Friday AND a poetry essay on Monday.  How much can one person give?  Like Brandywine, I think I've lost my ability to write.  I've sat here all day and have come up with nothing but notes on tone, imagery, theme, voice, mood etc.  I can't seem to put all these notes into a coherent piece of writing.  And I've done absolutely no study for my exam.  Have I finally become brain-dead?  I literally feel numb.

The only thing keeping me going is knowing that the work I have done has been the best I can do.  I got 95% on part 2 of my blog assessment (which had me laughing hysterically as it was totally unexpected); 87% on my history brief and 89% in my comparative essay, which also blew me away.  I know I have it in me...somewhere.  But not today. Today, I'm done. 

I want to curl up into a ball and pull the quilt over my whole body and sleep...but I can't!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet dreams, not wet dreams

No. 1 Son - Mum, we had sex ed. today and I have a question.

Me - Did you?  What did you learn?

No. 1 Son - Well, we learned that when girls are a certain age, they bleed and have a period and have to wear pads and tampons.

Me - Mmm...That's right.  And do you know why they bleed?

No. 1 Son - Yeah, because the egg's not fertilised.

Me - Right.  The egg goes down the fallopian tube and into the womb, and if they're not fertilised, the lining of the womb comes away.  And do you know how the egg gets fertilised?

No. 1 Son - Yeah, you put the penis in the vagina and the sperm swim really fast to get to the egg and most of the sperm dies.

Me - Aha... So every single person is a miracle because one little sperm swam really hard to get to that egg.  What did you want to ask me?

No. 1 Son - Um...What's an orgasm?

It's official, my baby's really not a baby any more :((

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Recipe for disaster


1 x 500 word essay
2 x 1,000 word essays
1 x 2,000 word essay
1 multiple choice exam
3 children
1 dog in desperate need of a walk
2 parties (1 tupperware, 1 Hawaiian)
1 black tie dinner
1 Rufus Wainwright concert
1 weekend away
5 hours traipsing around the city looking for outfit for dinner and weekend away
A pinch of housework


Throw them all into 4 short weeks, mix them all together and voila - a disaster waiting to happen!!

Serves - 1 stressed out lady.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Queen for a day

Yesterday was my birthday.  Yes, 42 years ago I was born at 2.45 am, at 5lbs and with my feet bent back all the way to my ankles.  And as my dear old dad used to say, 'Now look at you'!!!  Now, I'm 60-something kilos (130-something lbs?), still have weak ankles but I've created the most beautiful family.  I know I usually use this blog as a platform for whinging, whining and general complaining (although I do TRY to be some sort of an inspiration!) but after yesterday, I realised once again, how very, very lucky I am.  I can count on both hands the people I love.

Even though we had torrential rain, we went out for an early breakfast where I sat in my 'receiving chair' at the head of the table and opened my gifts.  From TD No. 1 - a gorgeous Japanese bangle; from TD No. 2 - some champagne flutes and wine glasses; from No. 1 Son - the Stephen Fry autobiography and from SH No. 1 - a beautiful pair of diamond earrings!!!  Yes, the gifts are special and every one of them represents a part of me and the fact that my family know me so well is touching.  I'm not materialistic and  that's just a small part of it.  I really was treated like a queen and each and every one of them made me feel so special.  TD No. 1 and I forgot our differences and really connected and No. 1 Son was so excited, it was like it was his birthday.  I had lots of phone calls and texts, ate whatever I wanted and in the evening I had a party with my 3 year old nephew who shares my birthday, where we danced and got to sing 'Happy Birthday' - twice.

I think we become so caught up in our day to day routines - rushing from here to there, we forget to just stop and really appreciate who and what we have in our lives.  Well, I do anyway.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mid-life central

I think I'm having a mid-life crisis.  Now, for one, I'm hoping it's too soon - my gorgeous No. 1 son and I have made a pact that we're both going to get a letter from the Queen and live till we're 100, so at 41 it's too early.  For two, I always envisaged my mid-life crisis would entail something radical like a tattoo or buying a motor cycle (two things I've always wanted but thought I had to use as my mid-life excuse).  Instead, I seem to have come out of my shell via a different avenue.  I seem to be turning into the bitch from hell!

In years gone by, if everyone else was okay, so was I.  If anyone needed me for anything, I'd don my cape and be there in a flash.  Now I just want everyone to take responsibility for themselves.  I don't want to be relied on and I can no longer suffer fools.  I expect the highest standard of respect and if I don't get it, I'll turn my back.  I've always been quick to forgive but now I find my heels digging deeper and deeper in the ground and I'm less willing to compromise.

I must admit, it does feel quite liberating but at the same time, it scares me a bit.  At the moment I'm thinking I'll get the stresss of exams and essays of the next four weeks out of the way and I might book a little weekend away - on my own (and I'll get there via my pink Harley with matching helmet and a little maltese terrier called Suki sitting in the side car!).  Mid-life crisis?  I'm not sure!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Year one

I've successfully faffed about on the computer for an hour when my intention was to do some research for an essay due in two weeks.  I've enjoyed reading and commenting on all of your blogs for over an hour and now at 8.38pm, 8.47pm, 8.49pm, I don't feel like doing any research at all.

I handed in my third Great Books essay today - a comparative essay on the theme of 'family' in Medea and The Cherry Orchard.  I don't feel as positive about it as I did my last one but we'll see.  I now have only four weeks to go and I've done my first year and a half at uni!!!  I am sooooo looking forward to having a few months off and am beginning to miss doing housework!  I used to find it so mind numbing but that's exactly what I'm looking forward to - some mind numbing activities to give my poor little brain a rest!

I have two essays due in two weeks, followed by an exam, followed by a poetry essay and then I can relax.  I'm already planning on having a night out with some friends when all is done, to celebrate the completion of my very first year... well almost.  I plan to do Italian over the summer and THEN my first year will be finished.  Any excuse for a drink!! 

Anyway, time for bed. Looks like it's research tomorrow. Night night.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What gets up my goat!!!!

I really feel the need to get on my soap box!  In fact, I had this particular gripe last week and by the time I got home and simmered down I had forgotten about it, but it's obviously still a sore point and is waiting patiently on the outer edges of my consciousness, so I have to let it out.

Every Wednesday I have a 9am lecture followed by a three hour wait and then I have a two hour tutorial.  I have three children, as you know, and an hour drive in peak-hour traffic in order to make it to the 9am lecture.  What really gets my goat are these 18, 19, 20-something year olds, who whinge and whine about having to get to uni in time for the 9am lecture, so they ditch the lecture, come to the tute, ask the tutor about the lecture and then admit they haven't actually read the book we're supposed to be analysing!!!  This has been happening time and time again and last Wednesday, I was just about seeing red!!!  Not only do I haul my big arse out of bed, leave my family to fend for themselves and sit in peak hour traffic to get to uni, but I also frantically read the text AND complete the tutorial questions - only to turn up to the tutorial to listen to all the pathetic excuses under the sun.  I mean, honestly, I just thought, why am I bothering???  High Distinctions, that's why, people.  And I'm not saying it's all 18, 19 and 20-something year olds - only most of them! If I had the motivation, I'd seriously do this Degree externally.  Bring on the summer break!!!

Ooh that feels good!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A break?


She doesn't have a problem sleeping!

Between TigerLilly meowing at the front door and SH No. 1 keeping me awake with his snoring, sleep from about 3.30 am this morning was just impossible.  So I got up and watched the last half hour of Witness (God Harrison Ford's sexy!) and then some old Oprah episodes; took TD No. 1 to work at 6 am and then TD No. 2 to work at 7; came back home and got into bed where I got about half an hour unti I was woken by No. 1 Son thumping up the stairs like a herd of elephants.  

I'm so tired and cranky and have just spent the last two hours of this rainy Saturday afternoon trying to entertain No. 1 Son.  After drawing, diary writing and sorting his footy cards I thought I might try and have an afternoon Nana nap.  Unfortunately, every time I close my eyes I keep thinking of assignments...assignments...assignments.  I finished yesterday for a one week (I know, hardly seems worth it) mid-semester break.  Why they call it a break I have no idea - probably because we don't actually have to go on campus.  We do, however, have loads and loads of reading and writing to do. 

I drove home yesterday from a tutorial trying desperately not to panic.  I have a Great Books essay due on the Monday we get back; have to start reading our Ancient Greek poetry before we get back; and have some history reading to do as well - before we go back!  Actually, now that I've written that down, it doesn't seem like that much at all!  I really feel as if I'm reaching my ultimate limit in terms of brain capacity lately.  Even though I got 86% on my last Great Books essay, I feel as if the writing is becoming such an effort and it's beginning to drain on me (although I did have enough energy to run up and down the hallway a couple of times when I got the results) .  We're going away on Monday to the beach for three days and while I was looking forward to having a break, my laptop will be joining us.

On the bright side, once I return I only have four weeks to go (and many more assignments and exams) and then I get about three months off - it's the only thing keeping me going!  I'm beginning to re-think the three subjects next year - who cares if I'm 46 by the time I've finished?  Me:(

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


If I wake up again in the morning thinking about the Plague, I think I'll go round the bend!  My latest history brief is to analyse a primary source (The Decameron) and explain why it's a relevant source.  I hadn't heard of either Giovanni Boccaccio or The Decameron before I started, so I guess in amongst all this stress, I'm actually learning something.  It's not due till Friday but I'm pretty much finished and I've done something I've never done before - I've emailed my tutor, asked lots of questions and sent her a draft!!  I got 7/10 on my last briefing note, which is good but it wasn't what I was hoping for.  So, in a bid to get at least an 8 on my latest one, I swallowed my pride and asked for some feedback.  It's not that I don't know what to do, it's just that I over analyse the task, end up with too many references, stray a bit from the original plan and, as was the case on the last one, I'm not concise enough!  This is something I really have to get a hold on - being concise.  I'm getting there!

I received 85% in my first communications assessment, which is great and am tyring to finish the latest play in Great Books - School for Scandal.  I have to admit it - I'm not enjoying it.  Whether it's because I've got so many other things going on, I don't know.  I enjoyed the last play - Medea (absolutely loved it), but that was Greek tragedy - one of my favourites and it was short!!!!!  Anyway, I'm not going to like everything I suppose.

I'm over halfway through the semester and have a week's break in a little over 7 days.  When I say 'break', I mean I don't have any classes - I still, however, have assignments to finish!!!  I KNOW it's going to be worth it in the end!!

Monday, September 6, 2010


I can't believe I'm half way through my semester already!  The time certainly goes, but now the heat is on.  I've just completed a 'take home exam' - which is really an assignment, not a nerve wracking exam, thank God!  Even though I'd read both the books, done the homework, attended lectures/tutorials, it still felt like an exam because I did my usual, "I can't do this - I'm no good at this - Why am I doing this?' scenario. 

I don't know if I'm ever going feel truely confident about my writing.  I know my understanding and analysis of the novels is spot on, but for some reason, I lose my flow when it comes to writing the essay.  I think I'm worrying so much about 'the right way' to do it, my creativity tends to become a little blocked.  The lecturer suggested 'three hours' is all we needed to write two 500 word responses to two passages.  Well, I can tell you now, it took me three hours just to go over notes and find appropriate quotes.  Anyway, I've handed it in and now need to concentrate on my second World History brief and it's a bit hard to feel confident about the second one when I haven't even received the results of the first!

And as usual, in between all this are the three children and all their little dramas that can't get penned into my daily schedule.  Just when I feel I've taken two steps forward, I get pulled back another four!  Over the last couple of weeks we've had a sprained knee, bronchitis, teenage attitude, groundings and even a school detention!!!  I'm sure any of you lucky, parents of teens out there can feel my pain!!!

To tell you the truth, as hard as it is sometimes, uni's the one thing that keeps me sane!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Brain strain

I've just returned from my World History class where I handed in my finished-at-long-last assignment.  As usual, I wasn't totally satisfied with the finished product, but what's new?  My tutor is about my age, with children the same age as mine and I can't help but feel a tad embarrassed at our differing intellectual abilities.  Is this normal?   Most of the time I feel as if I've been living in a bubble all my life and I can't help but feel self-conscious about it.

I left yesterday's lecture on the Mongol Empire feeling as if my brain was about to implode from learning and desperately trying to retain all of this information.  I truely love learning and I really want to know it all, but unfortunately it's just not possible to know everything (though my kids will tell you, sometimes I think I do!).

On the bright side, I'm learning to use Movie Maker in my Communications Technologies class and have made my first "movie".  I didn't have sound on my lab computer, so asked the tutor if I could play it on the big screen.  He obliged and when he'd seen that I'd imported it onto my USB, said "Good girl"!  Again, he's about my age!!  I'd attach it for you all to watch but again, I'm extremely self-conscious about my amateur movie making abilities!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I spent way too much of my study time yesterday, once again, trawling through databases for relevant journal articles.  As a result, I've had to make up time today but that's okay because I've had absolutely nothing on today (apart from washing and cleaning - that can wait!) 

I dropped the kids off at school and after coming home and running off some steam on the treadmill for half an hour, my head was clear and I've pretty much finished my World History brief - in only three hours!  The research was done, it was just making it into something coherent that took the time.  Isn't it a great feeling when you've completed a challenge you didn't think you could?

It's all thanks to my new schedule.  I was a bit worried about becoming anal about timetabling every hour of my day. And now I've got two daughters working part-time, I've got more driving hours that need to be accounted for. But because I've even tabled in down-time, I don't feel stressed or anxious at all.   Hopefully, it'll stay that way!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paranormal technology

Last week at uni, I met a lovely young lady in my World History class who told me she was studying to be a secondary teacher.  She studies full-time, works 38 hours a week and lives on her own!  When I asked her how on earth she managed to work and study full-time, she said every minute of her day was timetabled and if it wasn't, there's no way she'd be able to fit it in.

Now that I'm doing three subjects, I took this on board and decided it was exactly what I needed to do.  Each week I've been writing up absolutely everything that will take up my time, including regular study.  So far, it's working really well and friends and family have finally accepted my study hours during the week.  As a result, I'm keeping up with all my homework and reading AND I feel less stressed!

My World History assignment, though, is causing me a bit of frustration.  Trawling through databases trying to find journal articles about medicine in the 9th century Frankish Kingdom, was proving to be a bit difficult.  I felt like ripping my hair out yesterday afternoon as whatever I put in the search engine seemed to either produce 1,000 articles or nothing really relevant at all!  Thank goodness for Supportive Husband!  Somehow by typing "ninth" instead of "9th", he finally found something I can use.  Although I'm trying not to stress too much (it's only worth 5%), I have to make sure my information is accurate.  Unfortunately, I've always found searching through databases daunting but I suppose I'll eventually get the hang of it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The crypt keeper

I literally feel as if I woke up one morning and my babies were suddenly teens and pre-teens and my once supple face and body were turning hagged and heading south!  It's just like Freaky Friday - the Jamie Lee Curtis/Lindsay Lohan version - when Jamie Lee Curtis, whose body has been inhabited by her teenage daughter, looks in the mirror and wails, "I'm like the crypt keeper"!!!!!!

I hate being middle-aged. I don't even know if I really am middle-aged - I'm only in my early, early, forties.  Surely fifty is more middle-aged???    I hate the fact that every year seems to go by faster and faster and two of my babies are now teenagers with part-time jobs.  I hate that I have a middle-aged spread which no amount of pilates or half-hearted running seems to get rid of.  I hate the wrinkles around my eyes and don't see them as signs of a "life well-lived" or as "laugh lines"; I see them as wrinkles and a constant reminder that I'm getting old.  And I don't like Demi Moore with her 46 year old, size zero body and her 25 year old husband hanging off her well-toned arm!!!!!!!  Seriously, how many hours of the day would she be working out and how much Botox is she using?

Okay, okay - if it's one thing I always tell my children, it's not to use the word "hate" - but this is the exception!!!  I know what you're all thinking - it all comes down to attitude.  I should be grateful that I even have teens who are reasonably well-behaved, responsible YOUNG ladies; and I am.  At the end of the day what I REALLY hate about ageing are the physical signs.  It's time to throw vanity out the door and be happy that I have lived this long and accumulated so much along the way.  I have made a truely wonderful family; I'm able to continue my education without having to worry about what it's going to cost me; and the BEST thing, I think, about getting on is the wisdom I've gained and the ability to be able to share it with anyone who'll listen.  Even if I do look like the crypt keeper!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Heathcliff Vs Edgar

I'm over halfway through Wuthering Heights and I have to say, I absolutely love it!!!  I especially love discussing the characters at the tutes and annoying everyone with my preference of Edgar (apart from the all seeing, all knowing Nelly) to Heathcliff.  I don't know if it's an age thing but Heathcliff and Catherine's passion seems SO melodramatic and immature!!  Has age made me a realist in my preference for the supposedly weak, yet inwardly strong and level-headed Edgar?  I'm sure on my reading of it when I was a teen, I had a definate preference for H, although I also can't remember him being so cold and calculating!  His reaction to Isabella when Catherine tells him of her infatuation with him, made me want to squirm as much as Isabella!!  Great writing.  It's quite Gothic and I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I am.

World history on the other hand might prove to be a little more than stressful.  When it comes to learning/remembering facts and technicalities, I seem to struggle a bit!  I felt like I wanted to hide in a hole when I received my latest assignment due in two weeks.  I have to imagine I'm an advisor to the Premier of Queensland, who will appear on a current affairs program, and provide a "briefing note of the fundamental characteristics of early Islamic culture and society".  My first thoughts were, "The poor Premier's going to look like an absolute idiot"!!!!  It's all based on readings which I have done but trying to cram 1500 years of early history into a couple of readings isn't easy and hasn't made me feel very confident about the whole thing!  That's the key with me - confidence!  I don't have it and I'm not sure how to get it.  No matter how well I do, my confidence remains the same.

My daughter on the other hand...just entered a modelling competition.  She had to walk down a catwalk in the middle of a shopping center with hundreds of people watching and did it with such ease.  Although she didn't get into the finals (I thought she was the most beautiful, poised young lady there!), she told me she had lots of fun doing it!  I'm so proud of her and her attitude can teach me so much.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Am I invisible?

Have you ever felt invisible?  Whilst sitting on the deck in the morning sun catching up on my reading of Wuthering Heights, I received a phone call from TD's school informing me that TD No. 2 wasn't feeling well - could I go and pick her up?  I got straight in the car and drove up to the school. 

As I walked to the counter, a tall woman was standing in the office with her back to me, however she turned and clearly saw me standing at the counter but proceeded to ignore me.  She walked over to a desk, which I couldn't see, but at which I could hear another woman talking on the phone.  The tall woman stood at the desk, looked over at me once again AND IGNORED ME!!!  The woman on the phone finished the conversation and hung up, at which time the tall woman started loudly pondering the illnesses currently doing the rounds in Brisbane, whilst STILL IGNORING ME. 

Finally, absolutely exasperated by this blatant show of indifference, I searched the counter for a bell, which I found and proceeded to ring, whilst calling out sarcastically "Hello?  Hello?".  Once again, she looked at me AND IGNORED ME.  The woman behind the desk, however, quickly jumped up to serve me.  By this stage, I was shaking with rage and felt like asking if I was invisible.  In the mean time, the tall woman walked away and it was all I could do not to ask who the hell she was.  I have a habit of becoming so angry I get upset so I asked for my daughter and as we walked out, asked her who the tall woman was.  "Oh, she's a teacher" she replied.  "Well, she totally ignored me when I was standing at the counter", I told her.  "Oh, she doesn't work in the office", was my daughter's response.  And I'm sure this "teacher" felt the same way - maybe it was a little bit beneath her to attend to the counter.  A simple "Hello, someone will be with you in a moment" would've sufficed. 

I've worked as a secretary/receptionist for the last 20 odd years and when I get my degree and become a teacher, librarian, administration assistant or whatever the hell it is I'm going to be doing, I still wouldn't dream of treating a customer in this way.  Not only that, this is a school.  I could've been a prospective parent enquiring about the school, in which case I would've turned on my heels and walked straight back out the door.

It doesn't matter if you're a teacher, a lawyer, or a doctor, is it really beneath some professions to show some respect and acknowledge another human being?  Glad I got that off my chest!

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's a beautiful day

After planes and ferries came to a stand-still this morning due to an unusually heavy fog, it's turned into the most glorious day with the smell of Spring in the air. Can it be that Spring is on it's way already?  Not that I'm complaining - it's my absolute favourite season of the year but it's always a reminder that before long, Summer will soon be here - the season I dread.  Anyway, I'm determined to live in the now and enjoy the perfect weather ahead, although I've been fooled before into thinking that the weather's getting warmer.  I skip merrily around the house taking blankets and flannelettes off beds, only to be hit by the ferocious winds of August.

Wondering through the fog like I was on the moors of Yorkshire, (see, I'm getting right into Wuthering Heights!) I made my way to my World History tutorial which went well, although I couldn't help initially feeling like some sort of imposter.  Having never studied history before and being quite clueless to anything much before the 18th century, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  And that's precisely why I and everyone else is there - to learn!!!  Today we discussed historiography (the history of history) and the errors in historical practice.  By the end of the class I'd pretty much established that I'm not so clueless afterall.

I was clueless, however, to the subsequent phone call I received after my class, from a girlfriend I haven't seen in years.  Like most friendships our lives took us in different directions so I was actually moved to tears when I received her unexpected phone call - even more so when she told me she was in town and is coming to visit us tomorrow!!  So, true to form, I raced home where I've spent all afternoon in preparation for the impending visit from my Honey Bunny - a spring clean!

It really was the perfect ending to a beautiful day.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Web log

My first two days back at uni have just reinforced how much I missed learning over the semester.  As usual, I arrived two hours early on both days and will try and get there at least 45 minutes early tomorrow.  I'm one of those people who hate to stress and find that the earlier I am, the less stressed I am!

My first 'Great Book' is Wuthering Heights.  Although I read this book when I was about 16, I was at an age when I couldn't really appreciate it and am looking forward to reading it once again with the intention to analyse the text.  The thing I'm most excited about is sharing my thoughts with the other students in the tute and listening to theirs.  I'm also excited that I'm not the oldest one in the tute!!!  I'm certainly not an agist but it is quite nice to find myself in a class with a fellow mature-age student.

I also get to design another blog for my New Communications class.  I didn't think this class was going to be of much interest to me and the only reason I'm taking it is because it's a core subject for my degree.  However, after today's lecture I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy it more than I thought I would.  I might actually learn something!!!  Would you believe I only found out today that 'blog' is short for 'web log'!!!  And I didn't learn it from my lecturer - I learned it from my husband!  So I think a class on communication technologies will do me the world of good.

My last class for today was World History.  What can I say?  If you love literature, you're most certainly going to love history.

It's going to be a busy semester taking on 3 subjects but I think it's time to challenge myself a little bit further.  Well, we'll see how I feel about challenging myself in about 4 weeks!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A shock to the system

Two posts in 24 hours!!!  Today is my first day back at uni.  It's 6.15am and after waking up from a nightmare that TD No. 1 had just given birth to five babies which were left lying around all over the place, I've been lying in bed for 1/2 an hour thinking about how much more relaxed I am.  I signed up for a third class, two days before the start of semester and only bought books and stationary yesterday afternoon.  A year ago, I would've had all that done a month beforehand!  Now I'm sitting here blogging an hour before I have to leave (and I've just burnt my porridge)!  It's absolutely teeming down with rain outside and I'd much rather be snuggled up in bed.  I am looking forward to the semester but all this getting organised business after a 5 week break is a shock to the system!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Unhappy campers

"Let's go camping" said No.1 Son's friend's mum, "The boys can play and we can relax and enjoy the great outdoors."  Sounded like a great idea at the time.  TD's 1 & 2 both instantly complained about the lack of teenage things to do whilst camping and the fact they would both be the oldest ones there.  So I suggested TD No. 1 stay with Nan and Pop and TD No. 2 could bring a friend camping.  "How is that fair?" queried, TD No. 1, "Why can't I bring a friend?".  So after much argy-bargy, I made an executive decision and told them they were both coming and we were going to have a nice family weekend together.

Day 1.  We decided to hire a camping trailer.  Having only ever used one once before, we needed a little demonstration beforehand.  Two hours later we were more or less on our way.  By the time we arrived to our lovely bush retreat location, it was starting to get dark and we still had to assemble the camper trailer and the five man tent the girls were sharing.  After more argy-bargy, sulking teens, over excited children running about the site like lunatics, we finally got it all sorted - started a fire, cooked dinner in the dark, removed a tick from TD No. 1 and went to bed.  It took about two hours for me to get warm.

Day 2.  I awoke to a cow mooing and a kookaburra laughing.  Supportive Husband No. 1 and I went for a nice leisurely stroll while the rest of the family slept.  We found a coffee van and had a quiet coffee under a giant fig tree, contemplating how lucky we were to be in such a beautiful location.  We then walked back to the site and I contemplated how unfit I was before I was met by TD No. 2 complaining that she needed a shower but didn't want to take one on the site!  After more argy-bargy she decided she'd wait until we got home.  The rest of the day went quite smoothly.  SH No. 1 and I managed to do some quiet reading, while the children kept themselves occupied running around in the bush with their walkie talkies - my "too cool for school" TD's suddenly quite happy to be frolicking with the younger ones.  After an early dinner and a few wines around the camp fire, SH No. 1 suddenly started feeling nauseous.  This continued all through the night where I expected either his moaning and groaning to subside or a frantic wrestling with the tent zipper.

Day 3. With SH No. 1 still sick and tired, we awoke to rain.  It took a little more than two hours to pack the camper trailer, the girls' tent and the car and another hour and a half to finally arrive home.

Three loads of washing, six ticks and five hot showers later, we all contemplated the glorious luxuries of home!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stepping out of the box

I treated myself to a couple of lazy hours on the couch watching t.v. yesterday after doing my usual never-ending load of washing and came across Oprah.  She was talking about women who become so caught up in the business of kids/husbands/work that they become a little "stuck".  This really struck a chord with me because I feel as if I've been stuck for a while. 

Oprah's friend Ally got together a group of stuck women and challenged them to step outside their box.  This involved partaking in a roller derby, jumping out of a plane and skinny dipping on a deserted beach.  The thought of jumping out of a plane absolutely terrifies me and listening to the sense of achievement these women felt (possibly because they couldn't believe they lived!) after flying through the air, actually got me crying.  It got me thinking of things I could challenge myself to in order to step out of my little box.  When my Dad died, I felt the need to challenge myself  constantly because I thought it was now or never.  I did a bridge climb with TD No. 1 which didn't really freak me out until they put the harness on; I competed in a 12km run which I found extremely empowering because I'd always hated running and to just run non-stop for 12k's made me feel like queen of the world; and I decided to go back to school where doing my first presentation as a mature-aged student got me out of my box because my fear of public speaking was probably the biggest reason for not returning to school sooner.

Now I feel I need to set myself a new challenge.  But what?  I've come to the realisation that any activity that involves possible death does not interest me in the slightest i.e. sky diving, bungy jumping and even the thought of hot air ballooning makes me break into a cold sweat.  I suppose this makes me somewhat risk averse (and boring) - so be it.  But that doesn't mean I can't set myself other challenges, does it?

I think from now on a challenge a year may be just what the Oprah ordered!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family traditions

Today I hit the big smoke to see an exellent exhibition by the Australian artist, Ron Mueck.  For those of you who aren't familiar with his brilliance, check it out.  Anyway, this isn't a review post.  It's been a while since I've been in the city and it got me thinking about how not so long ago, it was a really big deal to venture into the big smoke.  The city was where you went to see a movie or to buy something special from one of the big department stores.  Now all these things are at your fingertips in the suburbs and a trip to the city is probably more of a hassle than anything else.  Not the adventure it once was.

I remember Dad dropping us off to the cinema in the city to see The Pink Panther and hanging out at the only Hungry Jacks in the Mall with my friends when I was a teen.  It was a big deal.  I also remember, on those rare evenings that my parents would venture into the city for an evening together, we'd each wake up in the morning to find a jar of Bo Peeps from Darrell Lea's sitting on the dining room table.  When my own children were little, I too would surprise them with a jar of Bo Peeps after a trip to the city.  So in honour of my childhood tradition, today I bought a jar for each of my children.  Sure, there's a Darrell Lea's just down the road and yeah, they're 16, 14 and 10 but the kids all had a giggle to themselves when they saw the Darrell Lea bag.

It's so nice to have your own family traditions and thinking about it now, we do have a few that have been passed down over the generations.  The orange in the Christmas stocking, for instance, because my stocking had one in it and my Mum's had one in it, because her Mum's had one in it - because growing up during the depression and  the war, oranges were scarce and considered a treat.  I've actually stopped that one recently because it was like, "Hey Mum, what's with the orange?"

I heard a great story once about a newly wed couple.  The young bride decided to make her new husband a roast chicken for dinner.  When she pulled it out of the oven, her husband was surpirsed to see the roast chook in pieces.  He asked her why she hadn't cooked the chicken whole and she said, "Because that's how Mum does it."  At the next family gathering the husband went to his mother-in-law and asked her why she cooked her roast chicken in pieces and his mother-in-law replied, "Because that's how mum used to do it."  He found his wife's grandmother and asked her why she cooked her roast chicken in pieces and she replied, "Because when I first got married, the oven was so small I couldn't fit a whole chicken in."

Keep up those family traditions and check out Ron Mueck if you get the chance - he will leave you breathless!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mama's brand new plan

I've just returned from a very relaxing week on the Sunshine Coast - minus the sunshine!!!.  Not that it worries me - I have my little sunshine in a pill every morning, also known as vitamin D3!  Although the weather wasn't the best, it was so nice to get away from certain day to day routines, only it doesn't seem to matter where you chooff off to - there's always a mountain load of washing to be done.  Now that I'm home, yes it's nice to be back, but I always feel as if  I'm returning to the job of 'house maid'.  Once again, I feel it's time to start lessening my home duties a little bit and trust the other four people who also live here to take up a bit of the slack. 

Maybe I'm a control freak - I don't know.  What I do know is that I'm determined to finish my first year at uni this Semester and start full-time next year (sounds familiar doesn't it?  I'm sure I said the same thing last semester).  One of my classes (Creative Writing) involves a two hour return trip which I ummed and ahhed about and almost withdrew from, but I really want to take it.  So watch out kids, Mama's got a brand new plan!!! 

I've got two more weeks of study-less bliss before returning.  I got great marks for both my subjects last semester but even this hasn't mustered up the enthusiasm I once had for returning to uni.  I've thought about deferring, quitting and returning to work.  The only thing that's stopped me is the thought of returning to a dull receptionist/administration job that I vowed I would never return to again!  Hence my decision to take a step up and try three subjects a semester in the hope of completing my degree sooner.  Having said that, this morning I did some research into becoming a Teacher/Librarian which will eventually require a Masters!!!!  It all seems to be taking forever - and therein lies the problem.  I have no patience.  Light-bulb moment - my lack of patience has been the cause of all my dithering over what it is I really want.

So what's the plan?  Worry less about housework, focus more on my immediate goal of finishing my degree and practice some patience.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Holidays cont...

After dealing with another round of head lice and getting No. 1 Son's hair cut extra short, I spent a lovely relaxing Friday night at Mum's quiet sanctuary. We had dinner together at a bistro and saw a show (in French) and afterwards sat in our pj's and watched 'Long Way Round' with lovely Ewan and Charlie in Africa. I think I may have to escape to Mum's (or Africa) more often! I'm always amazed at how quiet and clean her apartment is but then again, she does live on her own after raising four children...I'm pretty sure she deserves it! She even tucked me in which made me feel quite special!!! Once a Mum, always a Mum.

I've finally done away with Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh), a book I've always wanted to read.  We all went to the library on Sunday and I returned with four new books - one of which I have just finished ('The Spare Room - Helen Garner).  I thought my usual need to ravage a book a week had disappeared due to the copious amounts of reading involved at uni but it seems my disinterest was because of the book I had chosen!  Evelyn will have to wait until I'm in the right mood I guess.  For now, I've moved on to an author I haven't heard of before - Sophie Hannah, 'The Wrong Mother'.  Actually, this one's a book my husband found for me about a mother/wife who goes away on a business trip and has an affair (ooh, sounds juicy!).  I usually go more for the classics, perhaps my tastes are changing in my old age.

I still haven't received any results from last semester and have resolved to put it out of mind for the rest of the week; I haven't done any running but have done a lot of walking; it turns out my thyroid levels are actually okay but my vitamin D is pitiful; and my herb garden is still waiting to be created.  I guess on holidays, as in life, some things don't always turn out the way we plan!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are you feeling fatigued? Only all the time!

I had to go back to the doctor's this morning just to get the results of my mammoth blood test I had the other day, which was part of my yearly check up.  My cholesterol was the one I was most worried about.  Now, it seems that is the least of my problems.

The first thing she said was, "You must be feeling very fatigued" to which I replied, "Well, I have three children, so who wouldn't be?".  It seems my thyroid levels are down - I had a thyroidectomy about two years ago and am now on medication, so my levels will always have to be checked, so this is no biggy.  My cholesterol is a "little bit" high and I have a vitamin D deficiency.  Now, six months ago I had a low grade melanoma removed from my right thigh, I live in Queensland where we have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, and I've just been told I don't get enough sun!!!  Can anyone else see the irony in this?

Now I have to up my thyroid medication, do more exercise and take a vitamin D tablet every day for the rest of my life.  At this point, I kind of feel as if I'm falling apart!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

This weekend was one of those rare weekends when we had no sport to participate in.  It felt quite strange slowly waking up on Saturday and Sunday morning, not having to race around preparing breakfast, locating shorts, shirts and socks and rousing my 10 year old out of bed for a big game.  It felt so strange, we were kind of at a loss as to what to do.  So we packed the car up on Saturday morning and drove to the country - about two hours out of the city. 

It was such a glorious winter's day - not a cloud in the sky and there were no fights in the back!!  With TD No. 1 at Nanny's house, the other two sat in the back with their ipod thingys on the whole time.  It wasn't until we stopped and unpacked the picnic, they started at each other, by which time I was able to just walk away and enjoy the peace and serenity of the country.

The rest of my week was taken up with doctor's visits, blood tests, mole scans, a mammogram and dental check ups - not exactly what I had planned for my mid year break, but things that I never usually have time to do.  I did manage to catch up with a friend and we did go shopping (No. 1 on my 'Things I want to do over the holidays' list) but I didn't buy a single thing for myself.  It was all for the kids.  Anyway, I've told myself if I get the uni results I want and have worked so hard for, I will go out and buy myself a you-bute, top of the line hair straightner.  I've been trying not to think of my results but had a quick look today, heart pounding, fingers slightly shaking - but no results as of yet.

No. 2 on my list was 'read, read, read' of which I have been doing.  I'm trying to get into 'Brideshead Revisited', which I must admit is hard going at the moment but I have read losts of trashy magazines - does that count?

I still have four weeks to go for the 'walking on the beach, catching up with friends and growing a herb garden' and that just leaves...running...hmmm...  I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The nit nurse

After posting my list of relaxing activities I wanted to pursue over the semester break, I was confronted with a slight side track last night - head lice.  Anyone who's ever had the delight of being introduced to these irritating little blood-sucking creatures will feel my pain. 

After weeks of No. 1 Son complaining that his head was itchy and searching and searching through his hair on many, many occasions and finding absolutely nothing, I came to the conclusion that he had some sort of determatological condition of the scalp - so I bought him the appropriate Neutrogena shampoo.  This seemed to stop the itching for a day or two and then it was back on.  I thought maybe it was because he does a lot of sport, so every time he had training, I told him to wash his hair.  Then last night TD No. 1 came to me begging me to check her hair because she too was itchy.  After searching and searching through her hair, I thought I saw a little egg.  I dashed down to the chemist which was just about to close, just to be sure it wasn't what I thought it was. 

Once I put the lotion on both their delightful little blonde heads, it became very, very clear they had nits!!!  I bet you're scratching your head now as you read this, aren't you?  Even as I was in the chemist talking to the pharmacy assistant about the best solution, we both started scratching our heads.  Anyway, long story short...I spent all night doing all our heads, and washing sheets, pillow cases and towels.  Thank goodness it was only the two of them that had an orgy of nits amongst their thick locks.

I remember when I was at school, we had a nit nurse that used to come around and check our heads regularly (usually during the spring months of September/October).  I also remember the shame on the faces of the little urchins that were sent home with head lice.  In those days, it was thought that only dirty people attracted head lice.  Nowadays, they say the little critters love clean hair.  Yes, that's it - my children have extra clean hair - hence the nits!!!  I'll take that.

I honestly don't know what sort of hair they like - all I know is that they're a pain in the butt to get rid of!  And a nice little start to my relaxing semester break!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh, what a feeling

I awoke this morning content in the knowledge that all my assignments are done!  What a feeling.  I stayed up till midnight last night putting in the finishing touches (yes, finishing touches even take me all night!) and now I have a whole day free before I have to hand it in on Tuesday.  My previous rant about possibly going back to work or doing something else, seems like a very distant memory and I'm sure in four weeks, when I'm due to return to uni, I'll be rearing to go.

Until then, my mind is abuzz with all the things I'm going to do in my break -

Go shopping!!!!
Read, read, read - all those books that have been collecting dust over the Semester
Walk on the beach (I'm going to the Sunshine Coast for a week with the kids)
Meet all those friends I've been ignoring
Write - for pleasure
See all the movies I've missed
Gardening - I want to start a herb garden
And finally...take up the running I've been threatening to do for ages...

Hopefully, all my hard work this Semester has been worth it.  Regardless, I think it's all worth it just to appreciate any leisure time I get.  Wow, I hope I can fit it all in!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sounds of silence

TD No. 1 has gone to work, TD No. 2 has gone to Nanny's and No. 1 Son has gone to a friend's house, so I'm sitting here listing to.....silence!  The peace and quiet is deafening.  So what better opportunity to put the finishing touches on my last essay.  Although, to tell you the truth, I'd much rather be lying in the sun on the back deck.

I enrolled in next semester's classes on Wednesday - New Communication Technologies, World History and Creative Writing even though I'm seriously considering either going back to work or buying a book shop. I find myself continually questionning why I'm at Uni in the first place.  Anyway, I have a good 4 weeks to mull things over.

In the mean time, my essay on The Birds beckons.  The sooner it's done, the sooner I can hit the hammock!

Monday, June 7, 2010


Like Sarah (see 'Rest day' comments), my rest day on Friday carried on through the weekend until this morning.  Also like Sarah, I've started a new blog to document the latest challenge I've given myself - to re-start my running regime and run in a 5km fun run.  This is just another sign of my flagging enthusiasm for essay writing of late.  The other sign is the change of template - always a sign of boredom!

This is my latest essay that I'm attempting to work on - a personal essay on 'Essay writing and its relationship to knowledge'.  My motivational factor at the moment is zero.  I feel as if I'm halfway through it and starting to go off on another tangent.  I thought the personal essay would suit my creative style of writing, however, once the thought processes start, it is quite easy to lose direction.  I take my hat off to all those people writing a thesis!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rest day

After taking doggy for a walk on this beautiful winter's morning, my intention was to lock myself in my study and complete the last two assignments for the semester.  However, once I got home and assessed the state of the house and remembered that the out-laws (I really love them to bits but I just love the term!) were coming over for dinner, I decided to have a 'rest day' from the study and potter around the house.

I justified my thought process by agreeing that I have spent the last couple of days diligently writing one assignment or another and that my brain deserved a bit of a rest.  I had my last lecture yesterday and visions of five reading-movie watching-socialising-bludging, weeks holiday are dancing around in my head. These visions make it hard for me to even contemplate the subjects I will take next semester, which I have to enrol in next week.  I love the fact that I've made it through another semester, but the anxieties about assignments/exams doesn't seem to get any easier.  I also miss the social aspects of employment and am contemplating finding something part-time.  I just have to work out how I will also fit in the study, football training, band practice, drama lessons and soccer training at the same time (the kids' extra-curricular activities - not mine)!!!

As if that's not time consuming enough, TD No 2 has decided to extend her vegetarianism to veganism.  While I support her decision whole heartedly, it has been a bit challenging finding alternatives to milk, cheese and eggs.  Actually, I've rather enjoyed researching this choice of diet and have decided to join her.  Apart from the obvious reasons for boycotting animal products, it might actually be good for us.  It certainly makes for lively dinner table debate with the carnivores on the one side (No. 1 Son, SH. No. 1 and TD No.1) and the herbivores on the other (TD No. 2 and myself).

The down-side is, of course, making two different meals to please everyone! Maybe I deserve a rest day more often.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Go Sandra...go Sandra...go Sandra...

...This is me doing my happy dance after watching Sandra win Survivor last night!  I hardly watch any t.v. at all but the two shows I do watch religiously are Survivor and Seinfeld. Finally, we here in the land down under got to catch up (well almost) with the rest of world and find out who won!!!  Russell really got up my nose, so I was hoping that all his scheming and conniving would work against him in the end.  Yes, he played 'the game' but I agree with Boston Rob (ahh....Boston Rob!) when he said Russell plays to get to the end, not to win. Sandra, you rock!!!

I just had to get that off my chest.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Date night

Now that the kids are older and we don't need baby sitters, SH No 1 and I are fortunate enough to be able to have regular "date nights".  And no, we don't have nearly as many adventures as Tina Fey and Steve Carell in the movie of the same name!  Although bumping into Marky Mark wouldn't be so bad every now and again!! 

Since returning from our holiday of a lifetime at the beginning of the year, we vowed to have these date nights at least once a fortnight.  Over the last couple of months, they've become a monthly event and on Saturday night, we enjoyed such a night.  We went and saw a brilliant threatre performance called 'Stockholm'.  I say 'theatre performance' because 'play' doesn't give it the oomph it deserves.  I've never seen such a powerful performance on the stage.  Everything about it was riveting - the acting, the stage settings, the dialogue, the choreography, the story.  I can't rave about it enough.  The title comes from the Swedish city the characters are about to visit as well as Stockholm Syndrome, that psychological state where hostage captives develop a loyalty to their captors.  Combining dialogue with music and dance, the story is about a couple so intoxicatingly in love, they're just about destroyed by feelings of obsession, jealousy and paranoia.

I couldn't help but remember having many of the same feelings of obsession and jealousy when SH no 1 and I were first dating (though without the destruction!).  Now, after 20 years together, our relationship has become more about friendship and companionship and the only thing I get jealous about now is the weekly horse racing and the football season on t.v.!!  It's so nice to have grown up together and now we're back to the dating stage again albeit without the obsession!

Still, I'm looking forward to our next date night with relish (and I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for Marky Mark)!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Under pressure

Well, the house looks like a bomb's hit it.  I don't mean that metaphorically - I mean, it literally looks like a bomb's hit it.  There are clothes everywhere, dirty dishes fill the sink, last night's frying pan is still sitting on the stove top and the beds are unmade.  As I'm writing this, it's even making me feel sick!  But hey, at least my latest assignment's done and dusted.

After receiving a lower than usual result on my film assignment last week, I was ready to toss it all in.  Yes, I passed but my marks weren't up there like they usually are (at least they were last year!).  But alas, after a couple of hours and a few wines, I apologised to myself and realised that no, I am not perfect and no, I don't have to be.  I have three children who, apart from taking up a lot of my mental energies (at least, lately), also love me for my imperfections.

So, I put thoughts of being a quitter aside to concentrate on my writing assignment.  I did the research, planned the essay, did the draft, went to the lecture yesterday and was all wrong, didn't make sense and didn't fit the criteria.  So I  left the lecture, ditched the tute, raced home and just about had a full on anxiety attack.  Thoughts of failure filled my head; I couldn't breathe, but worst of all...I couldn't think!!!  I couldn't think of a single thing to write.  I picked the kids up and tried not to think about the fact that it was due tomorrow (today).  I put a smile on my face as I asked them all about their day and then didn't hear a single word they said as I dwelled on the bloody essay!!  We came home and I told them all to just pretend I wasn't here as I shut my study door and sat in front of the computer.  One at a time they all came in with various important issues to which I had to attend - 'What's for dinner?'; 'Did you wash my uniform for tomorrow?', 'How much is 100g?'.  Finally, I told them that unless there was a fire or someone was being murdered - JUST PRETEND I'M NOT HERE!!!!!!

I sat in front of the computer and my mind was literally ablank.  My brain was giving me nothing - nada, zilch.  My husband came home and tried to give me some advice (an engineer, giving me writing advice on an academic analysis).  Then after about an hour, I don't know what happened - maybe I just calmed down - all of a sudden my fingers were frantically typing away.  Thoughts of failure, quitting and curling up under the doona vanished.  Everything became clearer and I don't know how, but I did it!!!!!  And I didn't have to stay up all night.  I got it all done by 11.00pm.

After a few minor edits this morning, I've just come back from handing it in.  And you know what?  I feel so proud of myself.  I'm glad I kept going.  Maybe I won't get the mark I want but I gave it all I have, I worked really hard and I did it.  Having said that, I have two more before the end of semester but for now I'm just going to chill - inside this bomb disposal of a house of mine!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Every mother has her day

This weekend I took Mum to Allan Bennett's new play, "The Habit of Art" televised at the local cinema from The National Theatre, London.  I thought it was funny that the presenter acknowledged about 10 places around the world at which it was being televised, other than Australia.  We tend to get forgotten down under!  Nevertheless, the play was brilliant and was enjoyed all the more with a glass of red and a choc top for good measure. 

We're only 18 years apart, my Mum and I and though we don't get to spend a lot of time together lately because of her work and my family/uni committments, whenever we do get together we always end up having good fun. The older we get, the closer in age we seem to be and just as we grew up together, so too I imagine us growing old together.  Two little old ladies sharing that special bond of mother and daughter. 

Mother's Day reminds me of how lucky I am to have three beautiful children. Although we don't always see eye to eye and these teenage years are proving to be a little more challenging than I envisaged, I know I can look forward to a time when we can enjoy each other's company as friends and adults. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I will survive

With only one class this week and one next week I feel as if I have a bit of a reprieve from academic commitments.  I have done NO study/assignment preparation for the last two days and while I have to admit I am enjoying the break, I think it's produced writer's block.  I have a short essay due next week on any topic and I can't for the life of me think of one!

So, how have I spent my free time?  On Tuesday night I went to a concert with a girlfriend and didn't get to bed until 1.00am after much talking and giggling (something I haven't done in a loooooong time); on Wednesday, we had breakfast at a cosy little cafe, followed by a spot of shopping; Wednesday night I had to catch up on Survivor which I missed the night before (man, I can't wait to see Russell voted off!  Go Sandra!) and today was the day I intended to get the short essay out of the way but now I have visions of chocolate cake swimming around in my head.

On the home/children front, it appears my TD No. 2 has grown out of the "boys are gross" stage and wants to start dating - not on my watch!!!!  My, how the years fly by.  Now I have TWO teenage daughters whose interests have gone from slumber parties to members of the opposite sex!  Yes, a natural stage in life but did it have to happen so quickly?  At the moment I feel as if I'll wake up one morning and be a grey-haired old lady (with a degree).

...Might be a good time to make that chocolate cake and drown my sorrows!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Half baked ideas

Since handing in my assignment last week, I've managed to convince myself that I've either 1) inadvertantly plagiarized by reading and re-reading the required text too often; 2) not referenced properly or 3) haven't provided enough depth of argument.  I'm both looking forward to getting it back and dreading it at the same time.  In the meantime, I have another essay due in two weeks and my rollercoaster ride of preparation starts all over again!  At some stage I'll become a little more relaxed about it all - probably 3rd year!

On a non-academic note - TD No. 1 has secured herself a part-time job in a bakery and will now learn the value of working for her money, responsibility and work ethic.  I guess we're both going through a learning curve.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Ahhh, the relief I feel when I've finally finished an assignment.  There's usually a process I go through when I have an assignment due.  First I think - there's no way I'm going to be able to do this; then, two weeks before it's due, I procrastinate and think of all the reasons why I can't start it; this is followed by two or three days (and nights) of intense writing; then it's time to cull all those great words, sentences or paragraphs over the word limit; finally, it is with great relief that I submit the completed assignment, with a little skip to celebrate that yes, you can do it - you've done it!  This relief usually lasts for a whole day before the fear starts to seep in.  Fear that it's not quite up to scratch.  And then the whole process starts all over again with each new assignment, until the end of Semester!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Parallel Lines

This is me in my first year at school.  Now, I'm in my first year at Uni.  I was prompted to ponder my early years at school by a great article posted by The Non-Traditional Student.  I found this article extremely motivating as I sit locked up in my study, quietly contemplating my first assignment of the Semester.

I used to cry every Sunday night at the prospect of having to go to school for a whole week.  This continued till about year 2 or 3, I think!  In primary school I was extremely shy and because I was mathematically challenged, I believed that I couldn't really do anything.  In high school I was a real dreamer and although I was conscientious, I was just an average student, more interested in Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet than Maths, Business Principles or Geography (although English, languages and History did hold my attention for more than a few minutes)!

Now I'm finally at uni and though I'm still mathematically challenged, I don't cry every night before uni; I find it more emotionally and physically challenging rather than academically due to my added responsibilities; I still wear a big hat to school but I'm not quite so small and finally, I know that it all comes down to hard work, not whether I understand algebra, equations or fractions!  Oh and now I know who Homer is and have read Iliad for fun not because I had to - and I loved it!!!!

How about you - how did you handle school the first time round?  If you get a chance, read the article.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Conscientious objector

TD No 2 is still at that age where boys are just gross and the best company a girl could have are her five "bff's"!  So it is that I allowed her to host a "dinner/games party".  I know it's not often I write about the good qualities of my children but they really are beginning to blossom and mature.  She spent all day yesterday in the kitchen preparing her entree of hummus; main of spinach and ricotta quiche and cup cakes decorated with hearts for dessert.    Her abilities in the kitchen and general organisation of the whole event have just melted my heart.  They've spent the day happily playing boardgames - cluedo, toggle etc. with the occasional crazy outburst of laughter and screaming, but all in all, they've been extremely well-behaved. They all dressed up for dinner; drank fizzy grape juice in wine glasses and cleaned up afterwards.

Now it's 8.15pm and I've just settled in to do some serious homework/study and unfortunately, the girls have all decided it's time to put on the "scary" movies.  The screaming has become more often than occasional and I'm beginning to think I've chosen the wrong night to begin my conscientious student routine!

Self-Esteem and how to get it!

Self-Esteem and how to get it!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tick tock

Easter holidays - yeah!  I had my last writing class yesterday and have a week off.  The kids have two weeks off and I have a film report due in two weeks!  I've resigned myself to the fact that I can't possibly work on it during the day - I'd really like to spend some quality time with them all.  Looks like I'll be putting in a few late nights.

I have to admit, I don't feel as focused this semester - nothing seems to be sinking in.  I seem to have so many other things to deal with and can't seem to let all the other stuff go.  I'm still in a quandry about whether I'm doing the right degree and whether I should be doing something more practical - it always comes back to teaching.  I'm also very conscious of the sound of the ticking clock - I can't keep changing my mind, time waits for no woman! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Strikes and sentences

Another teacher strike which means ALL the tennants are at home and my planned day of structure and study will go down the drain, right? 

Surprisingly, I got more study done with them all at home than I usually do on my own.  TD's both have exams this week and the next and No 1 son has a project due on Friday, so after preaching to them all the importance of keeping on track, I announced today was going to be a 'study' day for all of us.  This consisted of no t.v., blocks of two hourly study periods, with lunch and afternoon tea in between.  To be honest, I didn't really hold out much hope of any of this eventuating but, as I said, I managed to get all my reading/homework done with two hours to spare; No 1 son's project and homework are finished; and TD's feel pretty happy with the study time they've put in.  It just make me wonder, why aren't my other free days as productive?  It also makes me wonder at paying private school fees for an extra week's holiday per term plus the occasional teacher strike.



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Peaks and valleys

This has become a popular saying by SPH No. 1 and myself over the last couple of weeks.  Dealing with two TD's, uni, work, No.1 son and all that is associated with them, 'peaks and valleys' sums up our life pretty well at the moment.

You might remember that due to last week's 'valley', I failed a pop quiz in Film Analysis.  This seriously marred my perfectionist tendancies and, having thought about it non-stop for the following couple of days, I decided it really was a warranted result.  Although I had done all the readings, the events preceding that quiz resulted in zero retention.  This was partly the reason for me dropping a class - so I'm now back to doing two subjects rather than three and I don't mind saying that the minute I dropped a class, my whole body sighed. I felt instantly at ease with my decision and the fact that instead of rushing in to complete my first year, I can now take my time and finish it mid-year next year. 

And so, after sorting out a few 'dramas' over the weekend and doing lots of reading and note taking, I managed to get 100% on today's pop quiz.  I already feel as if a weight has been lifted and I'm now free to really concentrate on the two subjects I'm now doing.  Of course, I do hope that at some stage or another I will eventually be able to take on a larger study load but at the moment I'm just enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fools rush in

'Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread', the lecturer warned me.

Today's movie in Film and Screen was The Wizard of Oz.  Seeing as I've seen it approximately 2,000 times with TD's when they were little, I decided to skip the movie and catch up on my reading before attending the lecture.  All would have been well if on walking into the lecture theatre, I wasn't met with a big sign on the projector stating that the readings he had asked us to do were wrong! Evidently when I downloaded my lecture notes on Sunday evening, I had failed to read the announcements and so I spent most of Monday night and Tuesday morning reading the wrong chapters!

As if that wasn't bad enough, the weekly worksheets I was expecting in the tutorial turned out to be a pop quiz on the Wizard of Oz and the week's readings.  The fact that I was the first one finished and that the tutor picked up on it only emphasized my embarrasment at FAILING to remember that Dorothy landed in Munchkinland, lighting is NOT part of cinematography and something or other about form and content.  Basically, I was so sure of myself, I was the first one finished and the only one to fail. I didn't take it too seriously at the time until I was made aware of the fact that these little quizes will account for 30% of our overall mark (together with participation).

There is no place like home but family commitments and dramas have taken up a huge amount of my time over the last couple of weeks.  As a consequence I'm behind on my reading and the (correct) reading I have been doing doesn't seem to be sinking in.  This afternoon I was beginning to wonder if I should think about dropping a class.  Then again, why should I keep putting my life on hold while the rest of my family seems to be moving forward? 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Swing shift

I finally returned to uni on Monday and after two early starts and a full day yesterday, I'm exhausted!  Not just from the drive but also from trying to comprehend the excerpts from Plato's Republic for my Foundations of Western Culture class - it's pretty heavy.  I have until next week to finish the whole dossier and answer the comprehension questions.  Film and Screen will be a little easier to get into.  Although it takes up my whole Tuesday, analysing character, setting, cinematogrophy is right up my alley.  Yesterday we watched Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock, 1942), followed by a lecture on lighting, frame, shot etc and then the tute.  By the time I got home at 4pm, I was shattered.  I have tomorrow to catch up on my reading before my Effective Writing class on Thursday.  I think it's going to take a little while to get back into the swing of things.

I've done it!!!

Well, I've finally done it!! Got accepted into Uni AND created a blog!!! After searching for insightful websites to help me tackle my journey into academia at my ripe old age and coming up with nil, I decided to start one of my own. I hope this blog will encourage anyone who has ever doubted their own abilities, to put one foot in front of the other and achieve their ambitions, desires, matter what they are. If anyone has any inspiring stories to share, I would love to hear them. I love an inspiring story!!!