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BY Amanda

09/01 Direct Link
It's just 4 months until Christmas and while I would hate to see decorations or hear carols yet my mind turns to the traditional tasks of making cakes and puddings. It is a wonderful ritual at this time of the year as we take the trip to the Barossa Valley to obtain the dried fruit and almonds, to Spotlight for the calico and set aside a day for baking. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without them. Last year I decided that I didn't have time and Christmas just wasn't the same. This year I will make sure I find time.
09/02 Direct Link
Just a few more days and I go to have two wisdom teeth removed. I am a coward when it comes to dentists and I'm becoming quite nervous. There's no escaping it, they need to come out, and so I'm trying in vain to distract myself and not think about it too much. Inevitably, when I try to do that, it just makes it worse. For example, ever tried not to think of pink elephants? Guess what you end up thinking of? I'll be fine in a few days, but I know from experience it will take a few days.
09/03 Direct Link

It's Friday, the office is quiet and I'm taking a couple of minutes to relax and re-focus before starting study. This week its the visual system; how we perceive things and the process whereby we see things. The structure of the eye is fascinating, but there is so much information it's hard not to feel daunted. I managed to learn about the brain last week and that felt like a marathon. If I did it last week, I can do it this week. I can do it.I CAN do it! I know I can!

09/04 Direct Link
My friend lost her battle with cancer this morning and while I'm very pleased that she is no longer in pain, I will miss her. I find myself smiling more than crying today as I remember her indominatable spirit, her quirky sense of humour and her contagious laugh. She would be the first to tell you that she talked too much and laugh at herself, but no one else thought so. She died peacefully, with her family around her and I'm glad she was able to maintain her dignity and be at peace at the end. Rest in peace Lee.
09/05 Direct Link
People are so inspiring. A friend came to visit tonight. He's quite amazing. He spent many years studying to be a lawyer, achieved his dream for a couple of years and then suddenly went blind due to advanced diabetes. He tells us how grateful he is that he had that opportunity and now that through the loss of his sight he has the opportunity to fine tune other senses. He tells me it took the loss of his sight for him to really see. I guess if you look ard enough there's always a silver lining to be found.
09/06 Direct Link
All I can say today is thank goodness for anaesthetic and painkillers! I have 2 less wisdom teeth than a couple of days ago and I'm glad I wasn't awake when they took them out. I came out looking like a chipmunk, which was to be expected, and I've spent the rest of today sleeping off anaesthetic and drifting into a peaceful haze thanks to the painkillers. My diet will consist of milkshakes and soup for the next few days. The upside is that I have a week off and I'm planning to put the time to good use studying.
09/07 Direct Link
My mind won't focus today. I'm not sure if it's the anaesthetic or the painkillers, but I just want to sleep. That is so unusual for me. I usually manage on about 6 hours a night and I've slept for about 24 hours in the last 36. I've tried reading journal articles or doing something physical but I last for about half an hour before the room starts to move and I need to lie down again. I have to focus better tomorrow. I have so much to do it's really scary, but it always is and I always manage.
09/08 Direct Link
Days spent at home are generally uneventful and provide little material for writing about. However, I have been studying the visual system today, and, while it might not at first glance appear riveting reading, I am left wondering at the intracies of human anatomy. I would never have thought that energy waves could be converted to the myriad of amazing things I'm blessed to see. Our brains are so incredibly complex and amazingly intricate. The knowledge that our visual system operates in hierarchical order, with each intricate area playing its own unique part frankly leaves this humble student gobsmacked.
09/09 Direct Link
I've pretty much muttered to myself all day long, and a casual passerby might have been forgiven for thinking there was a deranged woman in my house. However, the truth is far from that, as truth often is.
I have been studying criminal psychology today and compiling an assignment and I simply think better when I verbalise it.However, try as I might, I'm still at a loss to explain the sheer stupidity of someone who takes a loaded sawn-off shotgun to a party and is then surprised when somone gets killed! As Homer would say duh!!
09/10 Direct Link

Lee's funeral was today.It was a mixture of laughter and tears as most bearable funerals are. How can you be sad when you speak of someone nicknamed Grandmoo and see her cuddling Mickey Mouse, with a passion for coloured hair ranging from purples and blues to irridescent orange and red? This was the light hearted side of my friend Lee. The more serious side revealed a wonderfully dedicated mother, someone who was determined to make peace with all members of her family and who faced life with courage, determination, and integrity. RIP sweetheart.

09/11 Direct Link
Today is one of "those" days. I'm juggling multiple hats; mum, grandma, cook, housekeeper, shopper, friend, and somewhere in there - harrassed student. I have a research report that needs to be a work of art that I haven't really started yet and is due in 3 days time. I need 48 hours in each day and the stamina to go with it. But I'll just put one foot in front of the other and keep putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorically speaking) until bedtime which will be a long, long time away.
09/12 Direct Link
Ok, I give in! I'm tired and cranky. Superwoman is a myth. She doesn't exist. Atleast not here and not today. I can't do it all today. I can't even begin to try. I want to find somewhere without people for about a 50km radius, and just "be". I don't want to talk or be nice and I don't want to "do". But instead I'll smile at my lunch guests, play with my grandchildren, wash the dishes and then focus on my report. Then I'll get an early night and things will look better tomorrow.
09/13 Direct Link
It's amazing how therapeutic a good dummy spit can be. I felt overwhelmed for a while yesterday but I regrouped after my outburst for yesterdays entry and went on to have quite a productive day. The only thing I didn't do was my research report, but there's always today. When I put things in perspective I realise how many lonely people there are in the world (I know how that feels because I used to be one) and how lucky I am to have family and friends around. There's always a silver lining if you look hard enough.
09/14 Direct Link
I goofed today. I was supposed to be up very early for a hairdressing appointment and I slept right through. The hairdresser is a friend of mine and she was apparently beside herself with worry. I think she over dramatized a little (actually a lot) so that I would feel bad and wouldn't stand her up again. It's not like I'm unreliable. I've been going to her for years and while I'm reliably late by about 10 minutes, I've never just not turned up before. I suspect I won't live it down for a while though.

People are funny creatures! 
09/15 Direct Link
I know I've said it before, but there's nothing quite like a good chat with a close friend. Today I was blessed to have good chats with two wonderful friends and I feel so much better for it. Their advice was sound and sensible, but mostly I was grateful that I didn't have to justify how I felt. They accepted what I said and didn't challenge. When I'm feeling like crap I don't want to always have to make logical sense, although I still usually do. I want the freedom to just be how I feel. That's true friendship!
09/16 Direct Link

After paying penance and actually keeping my hairdressing appointment this time, I've had a busy but productive day. I write a set of tasks before I either leave work or finish study for the night and it's really helping. I'm more on track and there's a real psychological boost to being able to tick off the tasks. It's well worth the few minutes it takes at the end of each day. Just lately I've had a huge workload and emotions have run higher than I'd like and than is comfortable. Now it's time to get myself back on track. 

09/17 Direct Link
Why am I surprised that things don't go to plan? They never do, and yet each time, I'm surprised. You'd think I'd have learned by now. I worked hard all day, with the idea that I'd stay at work and study from 6pm and go home around midnight. Well... the phone rang fairly continuously until 7pm, and then a distressed friend rang and that was the end of my well thought out evening and plans. At 9pm when I finally got off the phone my mind was like mush, and so I went and saw a movie.
09/18 Direct Link

Our family appears to have been adopted by a duck. Luke, as my grandson has named him, just appeared this morning and has made himself at home. He seems to be quite at ease with the children and is happy for tentative pats and strokes. He eats out of our hands, and the children are mesmerized. In a very short period of time, we've pulled out the toddler swimming pool and filled it with water, found a box with some shredded paper and removed any unfortunate worms that happen to be in sight for a mid morning snack. Happy days!

09/19 Direct Link
The children were delighted that Luke was still around this morning. As they rushed outside they were rewarded with the sight of him sitting on the table with his head tucked under his wing. Unfortunately, ducks seem to have very effective bowels and I had no idea one duck could make that much poo, or that it could be spread quite so far! So, while the children are still enamoured, my enthusiasm has waned a little. Their father's enthusiasm, on the other hand, which was never particularly effusive, can be summed up by his muttered comment this morning - "Bloody duck"! 
09/20 Direct Link
Monday - back to routine after a very full weekend. I managed on minimal sleep, but today would have dearly loved a few more hours. I promise myself early nights, but it's a delusion meant to make me feel a little better. I never actually get them.

However, any attempt at an extra 10 minutes was thwarted by the knowledge that today is the day that I submit my research report. I'm never quite ready to submit an assignment. I'm always scared that I'll find a huge blooper once I've pressed the send button. This one is particularly important... here goes!
09/21 Direct Link
Luke has flow the coup. I woke up yesterday morning to the remnants of his visit; an empty box with pristine shredded pieces of paper, a small pile of feathers, a larger pile of uneaten food (the poor beast would have exploded if he had eaten all we left for him) and a much larger and well-dispersed pile of poo. The children will be devestated. It will certainly be a "life-lesson" for them. I can't say I'll miss digging up worms (I hate worms, or anything slimy for that matter), but I'll miss their excitement and enthusiasm.
09/22 Direct Link
Another busy day. I'm not sure how I'm managing to stay awake actually, other than it's extremely bad manners to nod off at work in mid conversation. It has been one of those days where nothing goes to plan. Despite several checks the catering didn't go to plan, I needed to write a last minute speech for a presentation and a hundred other little things that saw me running around frantically. Now that I've stopped for a minute to ease my tired feet I realise that sitting down is a mistake. I'm tired to the bone. Can't wait for bed.
09/23 Direct Link
I still haven't managed to bounce back from yesterday. I think a lurgy is looming. Moving is my only saviour  otherwise my eyes  start to droop. Unfortunately one of the other staff has just had bad news and gone home, so I'm here for atleast a few more hours. When I get home there will be the familiar tussle between the longing for sleep and the need to study. Study usually wins, but it may lose tonight. In fact, I'm trying hard not to sit still and read anything for fear of nodding off. I feel exhausted.
09/24 Direct Link
Friday! There is something magical about Friday. The word instills a hope of a change of pace, perhaps a well-deserved sleep in or depending on the weekend ahead, perhaps not. It signifies the end of yet another working week and for me, causes reflection on whether I've accomplished and been productive. It heralds the time when I catch up with my grandchildren and friends. It doesn't matter how bleak the day, there is always something a little more positive about Fridays. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues are shift workers and have no concept of the joys of Friday.
09/25 Direct Link
I lay and watched him while he was sleeping for a short time. There's something angelic about a 2 year old asleep. Unfortunately, usually the minute he wakes up I realise all too soon that it's basically a myth. But not today. Today, he smiled and giggled and we had a fabulous morning while daddy was at work. Every mouthful of breakfast cereal looked like nectar from the expression on his face, bath time was a series of adventures as we played with bubbles and then made whirlies as the water went down the drain. It was a great morning!
09/26 Direct Link
I checked out how much study I have left to accomplish before exams today and the news wasn't very good. Basically, I have 6 weeks of study and exam prep to accomplish, plus 1 more assignment to go, and I have just over 3 weeks to do it all in. If that isn't pressure then I'm not sure what is. It's not that I've been slack, because I haven't, but the workload for these subjects is enormous and I've struggled just to keep my head afloat. But now it's well and truly crunch time. The fight is definately on!
09/27 Direct Link
It is early days yet and I need to constantly remind myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and therefore it is prudent to pace myself, but.. I think at the moment I'm winning the fight. There's a huge amount of work to do, but I'm getting there.

The weird thing is that while I'm really focussed and really ruthless with my time, I'm not feeling overwhelmed and panicking. I've put everyone on notice that I'll be human again post exams and in the meantime I'm going to be extremely antisocial. Some will understand, some won't.
09/28 Direct Link
I've decided that it's not so much that I need more time, although that would be really fab right now. What I really need is more stamina. I need to be able to consistently function with a clear mind on 5 hours sleep and no leisure time, then this would be a breeze. I don't know why I can't manage it. You hear of celebrities that manage like that, mind you they probably also eat weird things in the name of health. But, unfortunately, I need a clear 6-7 hours of non-work, non-study time per day.
09/29 Direct Link
I spoke with my mentor and I'm so glad I did. He confirmed that the workload for this semester is completely unreasonable. It's complexity is quite ludicrous for a psych student who never wanted to study biology or chemistry. He also confirmed that biology and chemistry students wouldn't be expected to absorb information at the rate that I'm being expected to. I could have kissed him! Strangely, the revelation has made me all the more determined. This will not beat me. We've come up with a plan of study for the exams and I'm going to pass this subject!  
09/30 Direct Link
Why is that whenever I really need to focus the gates of hell seem to open to test my resolve? She has started again! I'm sure that deep down she is just a troubled soul, but her actions are quite evil. False accusations to the police and prohibiting them from seeing each other is just evil. I'm trying to delineate between the person and the actions. I'm trying not to get angry but its tearing him apart. She doesn't see him pacing the floor, the tears, the despondency or the frequent bathroom trips. She'd probably enjoy it if she did.