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BY Amanda

08/01 Direct Link
The start of a new month - already! We're in the eighth month of the year and I'm increasingly more amazed at how quickly time goes. Madi is 3 this month. It seems like just yesterday that she was a baby! I've bought her a tea set for her birthday. Feminists would suggest that I'm gender stereotyping her, but the truth is, she likes playing with tea sets.That is just who she is! I am completely besotted by all my grandchildren, but, as the only girl, she is unique and precious. I'm glad she innocently celebrates who she is. 
08/02 Direct Link

It's nice to sleep in my own bed and not have to deal with the regime of hospital where you snatch naps in between scheduled observations and drug administrations. While the regime is obviously necessary, the luxury of an extra half an hour without being disturbed has been wonderful. There are many advantages to being hospitalised in the place you work. For a start, you understand the reasons why some things happen, but the down side is that people actually get to see you when you look your grottiest. That hasn't been very comfortable for me over the last few days.

08/03 Direct Link
I've been really humbled today. I'm still home on sick leave and have had many phone calls from friends wishing me well. What is humbling is that two of those friends are really ill. One is recovering from chemotherapy post surgery for breast cancer and the other has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Both are confined to their homes right now because there are too many infections in the community for them to be with the public. However, rather than bemoaning their fate, they both took time out to ring and see how I was. Sometimes people really are just lovely.
08/04 Direct Link
Dusk wa an unreal part of the day for me. Today it was filled with nostalgia. After the last few days of unseasonably balmy weather, today, winter reared it's head again. As a consequence, dusk came with grey steely skies. The lights of the shops and cars always seem to twinkle a little more brightly on these evenings, giving my world a fairytale appearance. I wouldn't be surprised to see snow, or Christmas tree lights (except of course, it is only August). It reminds me of my first home, so many miles away. Hot chocolate, warm fires, home and family.
08/05 Direct Link
The weekend is often bitter-sweet.  I guess many people experience the same challenges when a family splits up, but how I wish it could be different. I don't understand how anyone could be as poor a mother as she is. Calculating, selfish and irresponsible, and yet the legal system seems to be on her side. It seems its ok to yell and scream, get drunk, abuse drugs and your children and still be seen as an adequate parent. Perhaps we have a different definition of adequate. And, while I'm on a roll, who says adequate is good enough!
08/06 Direct Link
One of my friends got married today. As Latter Day Saints we believe that families can be eternal and marriage is for both this life and eternity. It's something that I know many people of other faiths hope for, but their vows are still "till death to us part". It's one of the things I love about my church. Seeing my friend and her husband kneel across an altar and make sacred covenants was a wonderful blessing. She looked radiant! The ceremony was quiet, dignified, reverent and full of meaning. In fact, it was beautiful! I'm so happy for them!
08/07 Direct Link
Unfortunately, I did too much yesterday and I am paying for it today. I'm heartily fed up with being sick! I've spent most of today in bed again. My hacking cough has returned with a vengeance and has been accompanied this time by a headache, earache and face ache. Then just for good measure I'm having flooding nose bleeds as well. I'm just a bit over it all. I know, I'm not dying of cancer, my kids aren't starving, I'm not sitting in thirld world country on a rubbish tip. I should be grateful for my blessings. But today.... sigh....
08/08 Direct Link
A trip to my GP revealed I have another chest infection accompanied by a sinus and an ear infection!  The treatment - yet another course of antibiotics (it seems I have determined and resistant bugs), and more time off work to rest. I don't mind taking the time off work so much, as there is plenty of study, but I can't seem to focus properly and assignments just don't wait for good health. I don't want to withdraw again because I'm sick. It's been a strange year, everyone I know has been sicker than normal this year. It's crazy!
08/09 Direct Link
Today passed in a blur. The kind that only happens when you are unwell. I went out for a while so that I wouldn't be in the way and was exhausted when I got home. I started to write a list in the shopping centre and managed the first word of tasks before my mind wandered off on it's own. When it returned I had no idea what the list meant at all. It's days like today that make me thankful I have a nice house, a warm cosy bed, food and sick leave! There is always a silver lining!
08/10 Direct Link
He is in the car, speaking on the phone before he comes in the house, and the familiar knot in my stomach appears on cue. I know it means that she's giving him a hard time again and my heart breaks for him. I would dearly love to be able to punch her. I know that's not ok, and so, I fight the impulse, but nevertheless, it comes with frequency and power. She's such a fraud, unbelievably selfish and yet playing the victim!  She's horrible and one of the very few truly wicked people I've ever encountered.
08/11 Direct Link
There was a time when I was really worried we wouldn't get along. You didn't cope with women well. Then, suddenly and miraculously, the ice was brokenyou turned a corner. There's nothing quite like seeing your great big smile as you run up, lifting your arms for a hug and say "hello manmar". One day, as you get even more grown up, and "3" is a memory, you'll manage to pronounce grandma properly, and while I'll be thrilled that you are growing and learning, I'll miss being called manmar! You are so incredibly precious! My special boy!!
08/12 Direct Link
I've spent today working on a presentation about bulimia nervosa. It has prompted me to think about the way people are judged by their weight. Most sufferers commence the binge-purge cycle after they have successfully lost weight dieting. The praise that they receive is a catalyst that sparks their unhealthy desire for approval. Once they are no longer losing weight, or have gained a little weight again, the panic sets in and the pattern of trying to be disciplined, followed by the devestation when failure occurs sets a process in place that is so destructive. How sad!
08/13 Direct Link
I went to another wedding today. That's two in as many weeks, and probably the only two I've been to in as many years. It's lovely to see people really happy and willing to commit to a relationship. I hope they will be very, very happy! I came home determined to work and do all the things that I haven't managed to achieve today, but my novel called to me and I gave in. It wasn't a smart thing to do because the work won't go away, but it was a lovely break! Now - back to work!
08/14 Direct Link
I'd hoped to go to church today but woke up with a headache, rolled over and went back to sleep. There's something wonderfully decadent about being able to sleep while the rest of the world is busy. I quite enjoy it occasionally. By early afternoon I was ready to pad around the house in my jammies, read a book for a while, and enjoy a relaxing day. I'm back at work tomorrow and it will be nice to get back to a normal routine, but for today, I am grateful to be able to rest, relax and take things easy.
08/15 Direct Link

My first day back at work in almost a month. It feels like it’s been almost a year! It's amazing how quickly you can forget things. I missed my afternoon nanna nap.

I really could get used to staying home, devoting time to study and pottering around my house. I never thought that I could, but these days I'm more content to just "be".

I'm reminded of a song sung by John Denver, the title escapes me now, but the line "my life is worth the living, I don't need to see the end" resonates strongly with me these days.

08/16 Direct Link
While yesterday was something of a novelty, Tuesday, with all it's mania, is back again and it is business as usual. The great thing about Tuesday's is that I get to see people that would usually be working shifts that don't coincide with my working hours. The bad news is that I get to see a lot of them, and it's the day that I can have a line up to my office as I answer queries. There have been many kind wishes today, and that is really nice. I'm not indispensible, but it is nice to have been missed.
08/17 Direct Link
I went back to the GP tonight for a final review, and am officially on the mend. Finally, my lungs are clearing and there’s no longer the audible wheeze. The cough no longer feels as if I'm trying to expel something nasty from my boots and I have reduced the stack of pillows on my bed to just two now. Once I am 100% we will look at lung function tests to determine whether this is just asthma or another breathing problem. I'm not so concerned about the labels as long as we find effective treatment, or better - prevention.
08/18 Direct Link
It's nearly the end of the week, and my next trip to residential school is looming. Bathurst is about 1700 kms from Adelaide, so it takes a while. In the meantime, there is still no cover for my position while I'm on leave and so I'm frantically trying to do as much as I can to make sure everything is up to date. There are always final assignments due before res school, so both my days and my evenings are full at the moment. But, it's a nice feeling at the end of the day toknow that I'm on track.
08/19 Direct Link
The desk is clear, the final piece of paper filed and it is with deep satisfaction that I walk out of mr office door, close it firmly and turn the key in the lock. My working week is over and it is time to turn my attention to other things.Packing, cleaning and preparations for my trip are all vying for my attention as the familiar phrase of "so much to do, so little time" comes to mind yet again.

But for now, there is a sense of relief, even mild euphoira. My journey has once again begun.
08/20 Direct Link
We had a special day called "A Time for Sisters" today. It's a series of activities that are planned for a weekend, biannually, that are designed to provide time out to reflect, re-centre and generally relax with good company. There are a series of activites over a 3 day period. My schedule allowed me to attend two workshops this afternoon and it was well worth the time. The first was a session on gratitude and was really enlightening. The second, a time of music appreciation. We listened to a range of different music, which is always a wonderful experience.
08/21 Direct Link
Today - a flight to Sydney, then two trains into the suburbs, and then a three hour drive to Bathurst. I have been so blessed. My day has been filled with kind people, I was a little confused about the train trip as it's the first time I have travelled this way and there were time schedules to meet. However, a kind gentleman on the platform made sure that I was in the right place and knew where I needed to be.Another offered to help with my case, and I was greeted with smiles and kindness wherever I went.
08/22 Direct Link
Sydney is a city of contradictions. The people are hard working and industrious. The houses are kept well, and incidentally cost a fortune. However, there is grafitti everywhere. The suburbs are an interesting combination of new and old. As the train sped along, it was common place to see heritage cottages next to towering specimens of glass and steel. I spent a couple of hours travelling and marvelled that behind each door there was a different story. Each passenger had a different tale to tell. I wondered about their lives, hopes, aspirations, dreams and challenges and collectively wished them well.
08/23 Direct Link
Residential schools are gruelling at the best of times, but this one takes the medal. 32 groups of students will give 25 minute presentations to the rest of their class mates in just under 2.5 days on various psychological disorders. In addition, there are a number of lectures. I feel really bad, because if they have spent the hours that my group has then they deserve my full atttention. Unfortunately, shame isn't working, and as hard as I try they are beginning to blur into a haze. I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. 
08/24 Direct Link
Finally - our turn to present. Luckily it is straight after lunch and there aren't too many glazed looks. Unfortunately, I failed to take into account the time it takes for my eyes to adjust from one distance to another when reading. I really need new glasses, but they are not in the budget just yet. As I stand to present my part of the topic, I realise that the words are at best a blur. By the time the laughter has died down as I admit my arms aren't long enough anymore, I'm ready to proceed. Yay, success!
08/25 Direct Link
No presentations or lectures today. Just literature searches and noting for an assignment. (Borderline personality disorder and slef-harm).  It has been wonderful to have the luxury to devote an entire day, undisturbed, to the task. I'm so glad I chose to take the extra couple of days.

Tonight we found the absolute best pasta restaurant.I had garlic chicken and prawns and was only sorry that I couldn't fit more in. It was so delicious.

Last night I discovered an electric blanket on my bed. I now am a very happy camper. The  nights here are freezing! 
08/26 Direct Link
It's been a week that I've been in Bathurst and I've loved every minute of it. We have been staying on a farm and it has been such a tonic to breakfast overlooking rolling hills, the soft sound of sheep calling to each other and the smell of hay. The opportunity to focus on just one task has been a welcome change. I could get used to this! Tomorrow it will be time to go back to life as per normal, but today I am revelling in the novelty and freedom. My essay draft is finished and I feel good.
08/27 Direct Link
We awoke early to a thick mist, ice on the windscreen and my travel companion as sick as a dog! Unfortunately, with a 3 hour drive, at least an hour's train travel and the need to be at the airport by 11.30am, we needed to be task orientated. To say that the morning was a comedy of errors is an understatement. Apart from the road works, which meant I caught my train with less than a minute to spare, there was maintenance on the train lines and confusion reigned. But despite it all, I am home! 
08/28 Direct Link
And life has returned to normal! My grandchildren are staying with us again because their mother's new boyfriend has gone on another drunken rampage and it is unsafe for them to go home. And yet, the authorities still insist that she is an "adequate" parent. What the hell does that mean? And who said "adequate" is ok? Would you feel that way if it were your grandchild? Could you look into his eyes, see the confusion and pain, and tell me you still thought that was ok? And yet, we seem powerless to do any more than damage control. Aaaaaghhh!
08/29 Direct Link
I'd forgotten how much organization went into getting a family ready in the morning. Now that I'm a grandma, I only usually have to worry about myself. Today, there were 2 little ones to organize. One to a child-minder, the other to school. I'd also forgotten abut the bottomless pit that substitutes itself for an 8 year old's stomach when it comes to food consumption during the school day. Gone are  the days of a sandwich and an apple. The lunch box contained an assortment of goodies including yoghurt, sandwich, fruit, a bag of chips and fruit box!!!
08/30 Direct Link
Dinner is cooked. You have that wonderful smell of freshly washed hair. Your expression is nothing short of cherubic as you hand me the 6th book in a row and we rediscover Penni the pony for the 3rd time tonight. I should be studying but don't have the heart to send you away. I could get used to having you around permanently. Perhaps this time someone will finally see sense and miracles will happen. I dare not hope, or say it out loud in case the dream is shattered by voicing the dream. So, I'll hug you and silently pray.
08/31 Direct Link
It doesn't get much better than this. I sit one side of my desk pretending to note my text book. You sit the other side doing your spelling, and pretending you don't know how to write the simplest of words, in the hope that I will give in and do it for you. Your brother is on my knee listening to a song on my lap top. We chat in comfortable companionship and it feels very, very right. We laugh as you know, I know, you know that word. I wasn't born yesterday - caught you! Then it's back to business!