Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stormy week

This week we have had stormy weather, with a storm just about every day. Yesterday topped it off with three storms in the same day. The evening one produced small hail so it was a blessing that we were at home. We also blessed our neighbours by putting out our old hail blanket on the footpath for kerbside cleanup this week, which they used to cover one of their teenager's cars. The blanket wasn't in great shape, and the hail didn't end up being too large, but I hope it helped them out a little bit.

Our dogs have been finding it hard to deal with all the storm activity. The boy dog gets a bit barky when the thunder starts up. Telling him to be quiet doesn't work, so last night things were loud both inside and outside when the hail was coming down. 

The girl dog has a quieter type of anxiety. The curl-up-in-foetal-position-and-shake type. She likes to find an enclosed space so she feels a bit safer. We've found her hiding in the furthest corner under the kids' beds, and last night she chose the toilet for her hidey hole. At least she knew that the smallest room in the house was the safest place to be. Today we've had a relatively small storm in the afternoon, just a few thunder rumbles and a bit of rain. She's been curled up between our kitchen dresser and one of the dining room chairs the whole time. We've tried giving her cuddles and lots of reassurance but she just seems to be happy to be by herself in her enclosed space. I can relate.

The Bureau of Meteorology tells me that the run of storms is perhaps coming to an end after tomorrow. I think the dogs will be grateful. Although there seems to be more forecast later in the week, just as the First Test is getting underway in Brisbane.

Image from here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Great library find

Chris found this book at the library a couple of weeks ago and since then, I have really been enjoying reading it with Rosie. It's quite different from some of Julia Donaldson's other well known books (eg. The Gruffalo) but it's a great book for 3-5 year old little girls. Not too many words, lots of great illustrations to fire up their imaginations, and inspiration for non-crafty types like me to make paper dolls with the kids since we have some rainy weather on the way here this week. What's not to like?

We're also big fans of some of Julia Donaldson's other books here. Stick Man and Tabby McTat have also been given a big workout this year after we gave them to Rowan for his birthday last year. 

Highly recommended reading.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Attention Rowan....

Please stop eating the dog food.

That is all.

I know he can't read this, but I do feel much better having vented about it....

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday night Muppets

Ah, the Muppets. It's been a while.

Posting this because one of my children is currently memorizing Jabberwocky for this term's school poetry reciting. Such a strange poem it is too...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Contemplating life's (un)important questions here...

Today I spent at least fifteen minutes gazing at the discounted wool in Lincraft wondering whether Paton's "Classic Totem" is the same as Paton's "Totem." The former was the only wool I could find in the shop with "Totem" in its name, the latter was the wool recommended in my knitting pattern (but only as a substitute for "Fireside," of which there was none at all).

After that excessive amount of contemplation (which was only possible because my husband is still on holidays and I had left the little people at home with him, after previous embarrassing episodes with a two year old pulling lots of balls of wool off the shelves) I eventually decided to risk it and use "Classic Totem." I'm going to have a go at knitting my very first tea cosy (not exactly the same as the one in the picture though, I'm using a pattern that involves three different coloured stripes).

Image from here.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

This morning's amusement...

I was watching two elderly ladies from the Jehovah's Witnesses trying to leave their magazines with the volunteers at the Salvation Army second hand clothing shop this morning. I'm sure I heard one of the JW's say, "You can just leave them on the counter for people to collect."

So when I went up to pay for the shorts and T-shirts I was buying, there the magazines were on the counter.

I hope the volunteers were planning to take them away once the JW's had gone. Probably not the kind of material they'd be wanting to promote.

I did find it a little bit funny though.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thinking about....

...Christians who choose to marry non Christians.

A close relative of ours (single, early 40s, similar age to me) has just announced her engagement. My husband told me that when he spoke to her, she sounded happier than he had heard her sound for many years. I think she has been really lonely for a long time.

But we have mixed emotions about it all. She is a Christian. My husband clearly remembers when she was converted to Christ. But her fiance isn't. This is his second marriage/partnership. We haven't met him yet. He has met some other members of the family, all of whom say he seems to be a really nice guy. He even asked permission from her parents (both Christians) before he asked her to marry him. They did say yes, but they also told him they weren't happy that he wasn't a Christian.

I'm finding it hard to know how to be supportive in this situation. I think there are other members of my husband's family who might refuse to go to their wedding. I think we will go, but I have this feeling that I'll find it very hard to watch. She has a lot of non-Christian friends who I think will probably make up for the mixed emotions coming from her family's direction.

We're not on the kind of terms where I could say to her upfront, "Look, if you think you were lonely before you got married, that's nothing compared to what it could be like AFTER you get married if you marry someone who doesn't believe what you do!" I'm probably not the right person to say it anyway, she would just see it as coming from the smug perspective of someone who's been married for many years and doesn't understand how hard it is to be single. And on one level, she's right.

But at the same time, I think single people find it hard to believe that even in a marriage where the two partners are both believing Christians, there can be lonely times. I have had them. But I do know that if I pray about things that are bothering me, then my husband will pray with me and we will work through it because we share the same perspective on life. We believe God is in control of what happens, that He has a plan for our lives, and that despite our sinfulness, He loved us more than any other human being could possibly love us. I don't know what I would do if the person I was choosing to spend my life with didn't share that view.

My husband and I decided to pray for her husband-to-be each day, that he will come to know Christ. We know there is no guarantee that this will happen. But I think it's all we can do right now without causing a family rift.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Man Is Surprisingly Chill About Almost Being Assassinated

The title of this post says it all really. This guy is hilarious.

Best line: "two grand is not enough to get this done right."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Marking blues are here again...

It's been a while since I've blogged regularly. My sporadic posts have been ordinary and I felt like I was forcing myself to write them. I've felt like I've had stuff to say but I've been too exhausted to put it into words that make any sense. I make no guarantees that this will make any sense either but Ben has just announced a blogging comeback, and I was feeling inspired reading about it. So here I am.

Life has felt very full on for the past few months. Work has been demanding...both the teaching at Uni and at the same time learning all the skills I need to rehabilitate people who've had strokes, fractures and amputations. An interesting world. I'm going to blog about some of the memorable moments and the ups and downs of working with old people when I get going again.

In the meantime, I'm in assignment marking mode. I have two assignments left to mark out of twenty. You would think that would be incentive to knock the last ones over and get it done, but instead I find myself looking for ways to get out of it (you know... I haven't blogged for over a month, but now that I have to mark stuff, blogging becomes a far more important priority...). This assignment involves prescribing a client a wheelchair and an electric mobility scooter. Since I started marking them, I find myself analysing every wheelchair and scooter I see when I am out and about. We live in an area heavily populated with retirees so there are plenty of them out there.

Tomorrow's Uni teaching session is on dressing techniques for people with disabilities. There's a big focus on doing things one handed. I have reviewed fastening a tie and putting on a jumper and a button up shirt one handed, and I have finally mastered the art of one handed shoe lace tying. I didn't quite get there last year, which led to a few embarrassing moments in the tutorial, so I was determined to fix that up this year. It's actually pretty easy, and kind of cool. So cool, in fact, that I'm going to teach my kids how to do it. If I can find some pictures online, I might even blog it so that you'll all know what to do when you have a stroke or your hand gets amputated.

Enough procrastinating. If I can get through one more paper before bed, I'll be feeling great about having just one more to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Here's what happens when you leave a tutor with poor motor planning skills in charge of a tutorial on wheelchair mobility...

A multitude of blunders, of course.

Today I managed to tip a student out of a wheelchair going forwards down a kerb. Not quite the demonstration I was hoping for. Luckily she had a quick reaction speed and managed to jump free before she hit the ground.

That was after I'd fallen at the last hurdle of disassembling and reassembling a manual wheelchair. All was going well until I got to putting the footplates back on at the end. There's nothing worse than having twenty pairs of eyes watching you struggle with what should be the easiest part of the whole job.

And all of that happened after I arrived somewhat underprepared, not having watched the mile long list of videos on using various items of equipment that are part of the required pre-reading and viewing for the session. Every other week I've watched them. I didn't get to it this week. So obviously it would follow that a student would ask me about a piece of equipment from one of the videos, that I had sitting at the front of the room and couldn't work out what it was or what to do with it. I'd hoped that I might be able to ask my teaching partner later about it so I could show the students in a future session.

So the student asked if we were going to have a demonstration of the equipment (something that I now know is designed to assist with lifting a wheelchair into the boot of a car). And then I had to own up and say I didn't know what it was. I ended up having to get her to demonstrate to the rest of the group. Embarrassing.

One of those teaching days that I would like to erase from memory forever. Or the next best thing, I hope I'll learn from all the mistakes and do a better job next time around.

I'll be praying for a better day tomorrow, when I have to do a formal memory assessment with a guy who's had a stroke and now has some memory loss. I've never done the test before. I looked at it last week and thought it wouldn't be too difficult. Hope that turns out to be true.

I feel like I'm on a really steep learning curve at the moment. It's not an easy place to be.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Last day of the school holidays...


Today we did one of our regular holiday activities, morning tea at the lighthouse. We generally get to see a few dolphins playing.

The kids did a bit of running around too. Always guarantees a good afternoon sleep for them both. And some quiet time listening to stories on CD for the big guys.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Labor "faceless men"

They've been around longer than you think. Here's a great post on their history and their relevance (or lack thereof, actually) to recent events in the Labor Party.

I love reading educational blog posts like this one. Thanks Jon!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Easy and yummy winter dinner

Lamb shank, fennel and pearl barley scotch broth. Recipe here.

Apart from all the labour intensive chopping of vegies to go into it, it was a pretty easy dinner. I made it in the slow cooker and I didn't bother browning anything, I just threw it all in and cooked it on low for about six hours. By then, all the lamb had fallen off the bones so all that I needed to do was take the bones out and serve it up with some bread. The fennel had mellowed out so there was just a hint of its flavour rather than having an overpowering aniseed taste.

You can add other vegetables to it if you like. I had a few over-ripe tomatoes on the kitchen bench that I used up. We got an extra bag of potatoes in our online shopping order this week so I chopped up a few of those and put them in as well. An extra carrot or two. A bit more pearl barley than what the recipe said. It easily served our family of six with enough for seconds and probably a bit more for me to take for lunch at work later in the week.

Yum. Just the right dinner to sustain me for the evening ahead as I'm revisiting how to prescribe a wheelchair ahead of the student tutorial tomorrow morning (not a topic I'm overly familiar with...)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blog silence

Sorry, folks. The blogging well is a bit dry at the moment here. I'm on a steep learning curve at work sorting out all the oldies going home from hospital, and I'm also busy revising bed mobility and hoist transfers for this round of teaching the first year students.

I have also been distracted by the discovery of a rather addictive game called Bejeweled. One of my patients at work (95 years old, with a stroke that has knocked off a reasonable amount of her language and cognition) used to play it in her pre-stroke days. When her daughter showed me the game on their laptop, I thought I should download it myself. To investigate its therapeutic potential, of course. Now I can't seem to stop playing it.... And when I tried to use it with her at work, I realised how much damage the stroke had done. Her processing speed was too slow for it to really be useful or even enjoyable for her anymore.

So now I am going to have to cure myself of this annoying addiction. Thank goodness the kids have the iPad at school during the day so I can get a few other things done....

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What I'm listening to....

A bit of Kate Miller-Heidke. There's one song with the rather up-front title "I Like You Better When You're Not Around."

Her Dad taught me Maths 2 at high school. That's growing up in Brisbane for you. It's a small world.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Farewell Harvey

I've blogged about Harvey in here before, but I haven't updated how he's going for a while now. He was clear of cancer for a while, but then his tumour returned late last year and over the past few months, he was having pretty heavy duty chemotherapy treatment in an effort to get rid of it again.

Last night, he lost his fight for life after developing a chest infection. Just a common cold virus that probably wouldn't be a problem for you or me, or even for him if he was well. But with his immune system so compromised, he couldn't fight it off. He passed away early this morning.

Harvey is almost exactly the same age as Rosie (they were born a week apart). His older brother Oliver was born on the same day as Liam. I have never met his Mum Cassie in person, but we have been part of an online mother's group together for over eight years now. She is a strong and brave Mum who has blogged about Harvey's journey with cancer on a blog called Harvey the Cure-ageous Lion. She has updated her blog just a few hours ago to share what happened during Harvey's last hours.

Farewell, Harvey. You were beautiful and brave while you were with us, and you will be sadly missed.  Praying that God's love, and that of Cassie, Gabe, Oliver and Genevieve's family and friends, will be surrounding them all now.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Today I did a Pinterest play activity with the kids

So why is this blog-worthy, I hear you ask?

Well, let's just say that I am much better at pinning ideas onto Pinterest boards than I am at actually doing them. I have at least fifty activities pinned up there. This is only the second one I've ever done. It's a rare event.

Today's choice was foam dough. It's messy. I'm not very good at taking photos as I go along (and my hands were very flour-and-foam coated as I was mixing it all together) so there are more detailed instructions and better photos here.

It's not too hard, though. All you do is pour cornflour into a bowl, then squeeze about the same amount of shaving cream in on top of it. Any brand of those will do. Our shaving cream is "Revenge" brand, which gave me a little giggle. Put in food colouring if you like to make your dough coloured, although beware that your hands (and those of the kids) will stay that colour for the rest of the day. Rosie and I are now being blue-handed monsters while the colouring wears off.

Mix it all together with your hands and make it into shapes. It's not quite as moldable as play dough, although that might have improved if I'd kept adding shaving cream to help it hold together. It did get a bit crumbly, but mostly the fun is about squeezing it together and enjoying the messy sensation.

I'm a bit tactile averse to both floury and slimy textures, so it wasn't an entirely pleasant feeling to me. It did get better as the dough held together more. I had to fight the temptation to keep washing my hands. Rosie washed hers about five times so I'm guessing she might have inherited my "don't-like-mess-on-my- hands" genes.

I didn't let the eighteen month old get involved this time, although he didn't seem too interested after a passing look at what we were up to. I thought he might try to eat it and I don't know that eating a mixture of shaving cream and cornflour would be that enjoyable.

But, all in all, it wasn't the worst way to spend a spare half hour on a wet and cold day. And I did manage to grab a few photos after we'd finished so I could blog about it just like all those other crafty Mummy bloggers do.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Attention students.. (warning...grumble ahead)

No, you cannot all have High Distinctions for the assignment. The bell curve doesn't work that way. And believe it or not, some of you didn't even answer the questions you were asked. That is why you failed.

And to those of you who are haggling for what amounts to maybe an extra half a mark if you are very lucky, why carry on about it when you aren't in any danger of failing the unit? It is a waste of my time to review your assignment over little quibbles that don't matter. Move along, people, just let it go. Put your energy into studying for the exam so you can blitz that instead, it's worth half the marks for the unit so you're better off doing well in that.

Sorry to everyone reading this, none of whom are likely to be students from my tutorial group. But I just needed to vent for a moment. I have put in many hours of time marking over the last couple of weeks, we had to put off a birthday party for one of our children so I could get the majority of the marking done, and now, having gotten all of the marks into the grade centre, I have come down with a bad cold and I can't go to work at my other job tomorrow. At the moment, the contract I am on doesn't include sick leave so if I don't work, there is no pay. And even though I am not at work, I am probably going to spend at least part of my day (that is supposed to be spent in resting and recovering) in addressing people's silly assignment questions.

My husband was having a conversation with a student supervisor from a different University at work today, but it went along very similar lines to the above. Students these days want to question everything, even when the feedback they are given is blatantly clear. I don't remember ever questioning any low marks I got when I went to University, you just took it, dealt with the disappointment, acknowledged that you hadn't put in as much effort as you needed to and used the feedback to improve the next paper.

Sigh. Times have changed. I blame the University for encouraging it though. When you change your tag line to "Where it's all about U", then I guess the students really do start thinking it's all about them....and then respect for the teaching staff disappears. It's a slippery old slope.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Double the NAPLAN joy...

This week, both of my older boys are doing NAPLAN tests at school. Today's persuasive writing topic required them to select a hero to write about. I'm reading online that lots of kids wrote about family members (Mums, Dads, siblings etc).

It would have been nice had either of my kids chosen one of their parents. But it didn't seem to have entered their minds. They both chose a historical figure. The funniest thing is that even though they were sitting on opposite sides of their classroom to do the test, they both managed to choose the same person to write about.

Julius Caesar. Let's just say I had no hope of guessing that.

I think they've been a bit too engrossed in their Horrible History books lately. When I questioned them further, they were somewhat vague on why they had actually nominated him as a hero. Something to do with great military victories, perhaps.

I hope whoever is marking their papers enjoys the experience. I'm thinking Julius won't be a common choice....

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I just signed up for a workshop on using iPads in the classroom....

....for learning support and special education (information here). I'm really excited about it. It will be great to have up to date information on good apps when I take the next round of OT students back into the school. It's looking like I will be returning to the same school as last time, which is good too. Now that I've done the hard yards getting to know the teachers, it will (hopefully) be much easier to get into the classrooms and work with them. I'd really love for us to be able to do lots more performance analysis in situ this time, looking at the kids doing a task in class and doing some joint problem solving to address difficulties in a more "on the spot" way, rather than withdrawing the kids to work at the side of the room, or in the library like we did last time. It would be great to think we could leave the teachers with some skills so that they feel like they can take some steps to address kids' difficulties themselves, rather than relying on the therapists for a quick fix (and it's very rarely a quick fix, by the way....sadly, we don't possess any magic bullets here).

So now we just need to buy the iPad and I'll be all set to go.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And we've been reading too....

We've all been doing plenty of reading here over the school holidays. The hammock has had plenty of use as the kids all take turns reading in it. I even caught one of them in there with one of the dogs during the week....


It's been a bit quiet in here lately. I just don't feel like I've had a lot to say. So I've been enjoying everyone else's posts for a while.

I haven't been super busy doing other things. Although I have tried to take a bit of time out from the internet over the past few days. It's been good to enjoy getting out into the beautiful weather we're having here at the moment.

I did order myself a beginner's knitting kit earlier in the week. It arrived yesterday so I've started knitting myself a scarf. After it arrived, I realised that I had actually learned the basics of knitting many years ago, so it wasn't too hard to pick it up again. Now I'm worried I'll get bored doing the same thing over and over again for so many rows. But it feels good to be doing something a little bit crafty.

I'd love to be able to knit toys one day. Or tea cosies. The one in the picture looks cute. I'm not so much into knitting things to wear. I'm hoping the scarf will be a good way to get myself going again. It's a gorgeous navy blue colour (my favourite) so that is highly motivating. I'm also keen to get it done so I can wear it this winter!

Image from here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nineteen assignments marked

Image from here.

And I am finally finished. The last one I did was one of the best papers I have ever read on the topic of roles, activities and occupations. Such a lovely way to finish marking after having to push through some complete rubbish during the past fortnight.

Just a tiny bit of final checking and some whole group feedback to complete tomorrow, and then I am going to read a book, edit some photos I took at a very enjoyable first birthday party this afternoon, and hopefully sort out the three year old's poo refusal dramas.

No rest for the wicked here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Something I've been thinking about today

Yesterday, a couple of students in my tutorial group disclosed to me that they have Asperger's Syndrome. It got me thinking about whether someone with Asperger's could make a good health professional. The ability to take the other person's perspective, and empathise with another's situation, is often not great among this population. I've noticed that one of these students can become quite argumentative when I've challenged or questioned them about a point they've made. I thought at the time that teamwork might be a bit of an issue for this person in the future.

I suppose the answer to my question is that it depends. On the person, where they end up working (some OT jobs are quite structured, a person with AS could probably cope in that kind of setting), on how flexible they can be and whether they can learn to cope with change.

I'm still not sure though. I think they could get through the OT course. They might even make it through a job interview. But I think they might struggle in an actual workplace. One of the things I love about OT is that every day is different. There might be some people with AS who would find that very difficult to deal with.

So...we're really all the same, aren't we?

Here's a direct quote from the essay I've just been marking:

"Most of us in Queensland do similar daily activities due to our culture, background, economic position, personal interests, values, the climate and lifestyle."

Well, I'm glad I no longer live on the Queensland side of the border then.

Considering this essay is supposed to be about individual differences in interpretations of people's occupational roles and activities, I actually found it rather funny.

This person hadn't referenced the above statement, so my comment on it was that they needed to provide a source to back it up. But I also said that I didn't believe it was true.

Ah, first year Uni students of the "just out of high school" variety. So little life experience, so much of the world they have yet to discover...

Making my own chicken stock...and a few other cooking adventures

I've never bothered to make it before. It's rare that I have a spare three to four hours on a cool wet day to let it simmer on the stove. But today I had those spare hours, and a chicken carcass sitting in the fridge as well. So the stock is currently doing its thing on the stove. It smells fantastic.

When it's finished cooking, I'm going to use it to make bacon, leek and pearl barley soup for dinner tonight.  

And since I'm busy using up stuff from the fridge, I'll also be baking a rhubarb and yoghurt cake for dessert this evening. 

I've never made the bacon and leek soup or the rhubarb cake before either. So it's a trifecta of new recipes that I have on the go here today.

Hmmm....I think cooking could be becoming my new form of assignment marking avoidance. When I was writing my Masters thesis a few years ago, I used to clean the house when I was procrastinating about sitting down at the computer to write. Never before (or since) had my house been so clean. 

But cooking is heaps more fun as a procrastination strategy. Anyone else cooking anything yummy today?

Image from here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This quote SO describes me!

Or even a pile of half finished books that I was meaning to get finished...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's a little bit lonely here this week...

My husband flew to Adelaide today for four days of health conferencing. He doesn't get back until Friday afternoon.

It's hard not having anyone except the kids to talk to at home. Not that they're awful to talk to, but you reach a point (quite quickly, I've discovered...) where you really want to have a conversation with another adult. I don't know how single parents manage without having another adult in the house to talk to.

So you might see me commenting lots on blogs over the coming week in my desperation to find adult company. Part of it is assignment marking avoidance which I need to get over, but if you could humour me by responding to a comment or two, then I might feel a bit less isolated over here....

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's assignment marking season again

The less said about that, the better. It's going to be an awful week or two while I try to sort out people's weird logic on what occupations, roles and activities are. Not to mention their unusual referencing skills.

On the bright side, my new job started well. Because I've never done rehab before, no one really expects me to know anything. So I can watch other therapists and learn from them, something that I haven't done for ages. My first client was a 96 year old, a bit of a change from all the little people I'm used to seeing!

It also seems to be a pretty relaxed environment, although at present the ward isn't particularly busy. I guess if it filled up, it might seem more stressful. But I'm noticing that in rehab, they're happy for everything to take a long time. Most of my experience working with adults has been in acute hospital wards, where the pressure is on to get everyone home as quickly as possible.

The other good news is that the two occupational therapists I'm working with there are both Christians. One of them is moving on to a different caseload in a few weeks' time, but for the next week or two it will be good to be able to talk to them about church stuff without feeling too awkward.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 I come!

Well, sort of.

Tomorrow, I'm starting a new short term contract at work for a few weeks until the next student supervision round starts up in another school in June.

So it's off to work in adult rehabilitation I go. After fifteen years working almost exclusively in paediatrics, I'm a little bit nervous. Even when I did work with adults many moons ago, I didn't ever have a physical rehabilitation caseload. So it's all going to be brand new.

I keep telling myself the process isn't much different. Assess, set goals with client, treat, work on getting them back into their own environment and performing everyday activities safely. I can do that. How hard could it be? Hopefully I'll be able to work shadow someone for a couple of days so I can get the hang of it.

And it's in Murwillumbah. It's a very pleasant commute to get there and back home again. Some nice little cafes to have lunch in once I feel like I know what's happening. And it's looking like my next school job may be there as well, so it will be good to get a bit of a vibe for the place. So far my experience of Murbah consists of shopping in the main street (some quirky little shops to explore down there!) and taking the kids to the pool a few times. Watching the kids perform with their school class in the local eisteddfod. We've had one visit to the library. I've enjoyed it so far. I hope that working there won't change that.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Today we went for a walk on the beach

All of us, that is. Two adults, four kids, two pugs. It's one of those activities I saw ourselves doing as a family and having a lovely time together. Other families I've seen walking their dogs always look like they're having fun.

We were greeted on our arrival by the local rangers who had received complaints about dogs being let off their leads on a part of the beach that wasn't a leash-free area. They wanted to remind us that the leash-free part of the beach started 200 metres further down from where we were parked. As it turned out, we didn't let the dogs off their leads for the whole walk (except for one time when one of them escaped while Rosie was holding the lead). I think the complaint was probably directed at the owners of two enormous dogs (off their leashes) that the rangers couldn't see, but who we spotted hiding in the trees beside the walkway to the beach. It was a bit tempting to dob them in but we were kind and decided not to.

We forgot to check the tide times before we went and discovered we'd timed our arrival right on high tide. There were places where there wasn't a lot of beach left to walk on. The dogs weren't too keen on getting wet. They're pretty old dogs so they struggle to walk very far as well. I thought I might try and get them to move a bit faster so I started jogging (I didn't go out walking this morning so I wanted to jog a bit so I could feel like I'd done at least a few minutes of the moderate intensity exercise thing). The dog I was with at the time managed to jog for about ten metres before giving up. Towing him behind me didn't work too well because he just couldn't manage to move any faster. There went the jogging ambitions.

We probably tried to go just a little bit too far for the toddlers to cope with. One of them was riding on Daddy's shoulders. He hadn't had a morning sleep but he really needed one. For the last two hundred metres of our walk, his yelling was louder than the sound of the pounding waves. The other one whinged about wanting to go home for most of the way, although to give her some credit, she did stop and cheer up a little by the end of the walk, just as the one on Daddy's shoulders was getting started.

We've discovered that whenever we take them out, both our dogs like nothing more than finding the nearest patch of soft grass so they can get busy doing their business. One did it at the start of the walk. The other one did it as we were arriving back. Such a lovely way to start and end our family fun together. At least we remembered the plastic bags for the clean up. We've been caught without them before, but we know now that bags are a must have accessory to attach to the leash whenever we take them anywhere. As we were getting ready to drive home, I did mention to my husband that I wished we could get the dogs to go to the toilet before we leave home, the way you can get the kids to go. I might give it a go next time. They sometimes will go on command. But not very consistently.

All in all, it probably wasn't one of those beautiful moments of family fun that I'd visualised. It was okay. Maybe it will get better if we do it more often.

Here's a boring way to spend an evening

I'm looking for a YouTube video of a preschool or early school aged child putting on their shoes and socks. You'd think it would be pretty easy to find one. Sadly, that's not proving to be true.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hot cross bun season

I love making my own hot cross buns. Like most things you make yourself, they taste heaps better than the ones from the shop.  I have the dough on the first rise now and I'm going to leave it overnight and finish them in the oven tomorrow morning so they're lovely and fresh to eat for breakfast. This is the first time I've tried the leaving overnight thing. I wasn't sure if I could do that or not but several blogs said it was okay so I am giving it a go. Punching down the dough is my favourite thing to do in the whole process of making them (kneading is a close second) so that will be my first job when I get up tomorrow.

Roll on tomorrow morning.

Sorry for the silence

There's been a bit going on. That's an understatement really. I'm currently enjoying a couple of quieter weeks on the work front so that is good. I even managed to take myself off for a lovely pot of tea in a cafe this morning. All by myself. Sitting in the front window seat gazing out at the beautiful river flowing past. No one else in the cafe except the two women who run it. Bliss.

I did get a call from my Uni teaching colleague while I was there. But somehow, even talking about work seems like fun when you are in such a peaceful environment.

I should have resisted the call of the cake cabinet though. I haven't been eating much sweet stuff lately, so the coconut lemon meringue slice (I did have it without cream and ice cream) tasted a bit too sugary for my liking.  Had a tiny lunch to make up for it.

Teaching has been going okay this year. My tutorial group is much smaller and most of them seem reasonably switched on. Although teaching them from four until six p.m. can be a bit of a challenge when they've all been there since the eight a.m. lecture in the morning.

I'm thankful to God for providing me with some more work for the next couple of months. I didn't get the permanent position I applied for but there is a short term job I can do at the local hospital until the next student education contract comes up. This also solves a transport problem. We are still without a second car but for the next little while I can go to work with my husband and we actually don't need the second car as desperately as we did a few weeks ago. Of course, Murphy's law (or God's sovereign plan) says that this is probably when we will find another one. Chris is off to check one out tomorrow afternoon. I hope it's good. It's a blue one, my favourite colour, so I'd be happy to take it on that basis alone. But I suppose the mechanical condition is also important.

And somehow in the middle of all the craziness, being sick, being buried under a rather large workload and dealing with all the usual family dramas, I've managed to continue my morning walks. Not every day, but at least three times a week. I'm even doing a bit of jogging for part of the way sometimes. And I have lost five kilos in the process. And about five centimetres off my waist measurement. My original aim was to lose five kilos but I'm feeling so good, I'm going to try and lose a few more.

The C.B.R.P. went off track for a little while. Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were hard going. I just started Joshua last week. But I'm still trying to read along as much as I can before I forget what I've read before.

So that's me for the past few months. Just popping up for some air before it all starts again next week. Hopefully the blog will get a bit more attention now that I'm back into the groove of going to work.

Friday, March 22, 2013

An observation

Being the treasurer of a church sometimes seems like a thankless task.

That is all.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I missed the Paul Kelly and Neil Finn concerts

I was feeling a bit sad when I saw people posting all over Facebook and their blogs about how amazing the show was.

So I was pleased to discover that their final concert at the Sydney Opera House next Monday night is being streamed live on YouTube. Link here.

Not quite as good as being there live, but nice to be able to watch it without leaving home.

Image from here.

I'm sitting here at my computer....

....watching a rather large cockroach crawling across the wall in front of me. He's made one trip across and back, and now he's just sitting there on the wall.

I'm trying to decide whether going upstairs to get the insect spray is worth the effort. He's not moving too quickly. Sometimes the spray can make them fly around really fast and in crazy unpredictable circles. That freaks me out a bit.

He's still not moving. We get our house sprayed for cockroaches once a year. It's been a few months since that happened. It would be nice to think that this might be his death throes that I'm watching. Although I think that the death staggers might look a bit more unco-ordinated than what I've been watching so far.

Can you all tell that I'm really scraping the bottom of the blogging barrel here? I was wondering whether I should illustrate this post with a picture, and then I just, probably not required. I'm sure you can all visualise what's happening well enough.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I sent my two big guys off to school this morning with some trepidation. Neither of them had vomited yet. I was wondering if it might strike at school.

One of them was performing in a trumpet group with two other kids from his class at the local Salvation Army church morning tea today. The Salvos are conveniently located next door to their school, and the principal of the school is a member of the church so they do quite a few performances over there.

Sadly, vomiting struck at probably the most inconvenient moment it could have. Just as they were on the stage getting ready to play. I was told he had to run off stage and make for the nearest toilet. He nearly got there. But not quite. The floor around the toilet cubicle got covered. And the principal ended up having to clean it all up afterwards.

I didn't hear the full story when he was brought home by my husband at lunchtime. All I knew was that he'd had to run off stage just as they were about to start and that he'd missed the toilet. He told me he didn't know who cleaned it up. So it was slightly embarrassing when the deputy principal called me later to tell me about it. Apparently the principal thought it was just nervousness that caused him to do it. So I then had to confess that the evil gastro was making its way through our house and that I had sent my kids off to school even though I knew it could be coming. Oh dear. Caught out.

The deputy principal was amused, I think, because she usually takes the kids to most of these musical performances and thus is presumably left with any of these kinds of unpleasant cleaning jobs. She seemed to be very happy that the principal had to take one for the team this time. I'm guessing cleaning up vomit probably isn't top of the list of his regular jobs.

Sometimes you just have to laugh. It was kind of funny. Hopefully he'll be able to recover to perform again in future and the principal (also his trumpet teacher) won't hold it against him. But it's one of those moments that I'm not too sorry to have missed...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We're all sick

It is in no way pleasant to have a vomiting bug in your house. Especially when you are the first one to get it. Then you just know that everyone else is also going to be vomiting before too long. And then you are going to have to clean it all up.

Just so everyone knows, "you" in this post really means "I." And I am really not very good with vomit clean-ups. I rely on lots of assistance from my so-much-more-patient-than-I-am husband to get me through them.

Sigh. There's never a good time for this kind of sickness to strike but this week is a particularly bad week for it to descend on us. Praying for some strength and energy to deal with the onslaught. One child is already down, three more kids and a husband still to go.

More comics for your entertainment...

This time from The Great Gatsby. If you read it at school and didn't love it then, this might change your mind. I should warn you there's a little bit of coarse language in it so if that's not your thing, please feel free to skip over this one. In the end, the rest of it was just too funny not to post...

There's more of Kate Beaton's work at the website Hark!A Vagrant. Comes highly recommended from one of my favourite bloggers (and awesome cartoonist himself) Ben.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What I'm reading

And this one:

I'm enjoying both of them but I'll need to post a few more thoughts on them when I can collect my ideas into some sort of it might be a while.

Something that I found earlier this evening...a bit of a giggle

From here.

Busy busy busy

I'm glad this student supervision contract is only a short term deal. Two more weeks to go after tomorrow. After that I'm not sure what I'll be doing. I've applied for something else and have an interview for that next week. It's not really my preferred area of work though so I have my doubts on whether I'll get it. And they want someone to work three days. I can only do two because of child care. That's the reason I'm giving them. The real reason I can only do two is because I don't want to do any more than that. More than two days a week of me working tips up the very delicate balance of keeping my family (and me) sane and functioning. So I think I'll have to either blitz the interview and blind them with my outstanding awesome-ness as a therapist, or I'll get laughed at and told to go away.

Time to bring out the negotiation skills for a bit of dusting off, I think.

Just need to mention too that I am in love with my new oven. It takes about three minutes to preheat. After waiting for around fifteen minutes for the previous one to heat (often unreliably) three minutes is sheer luxury. Now I just need to find the time to do some cooking in it!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rain, rain, go away....

It seems that we are about to be drenched....again. For the third time in a month. Thanks very much ex-tropical cyclone, east coast low, and now we seem to have something called an "upper level trough and associated upper low" developing off the Queensland coast.

On Friday afternoon, I was stuck in a pretty big storm at the school where I work. High winds, trees blowing down, flash flooding through the school grounds, it was all happening. I had students working in the school library with a few kids and I couldn't get there from the admin block (at most, 5 metres away) to check they were okay. I had a few moments of anxiety about getting us all home safely. Fortunately it passed over and we were able to make it out with a few detours to get past the fallen trees on the access roads and motorway.

Now another downpour is on the way. I am praying that this one is over with by the time work starts for me again on Thursday and that the students will be able to travel safely to work over the next few days with their other supervisors.

But I just want to say that we have had enough rain for now. That is all.

Home from church with sick kids

Listening to this:

I see there is also a companion album called He Will Have His Way for the blokes. Might get onto that one next.

But the girls' one is sublime. Some gorgeous voices singing great lyrics here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One of my kids won an iPod Touch!

From the Summer Reading Club he participated in with our local library. I'm claiming part ownership since I'm the one who encouraged* the kids to fill in their reading logs and I took them to the library every few weeks to hand them in. He was very excited to win. It was lovely to see the look of amazement and excitement on face when they read out his name. Especially since I'd worded them up before we went to the little party this afternoon for the prize drawing that not everyone can be the winner, and that it was just great that they'd participated and had a go.

As it turned out, it was one of those "every child wins a prize" events where they could choose what they wanted from a large table of smaller items so even the non-iPod recipients left happily.

I'm happy too. I said in here a few months ago that the only way we'd end up with an iPad or iPod here was if somebody won one. Sadly our little WiFi thingy that's supposed to connect everything to the internet all over our house isn't working though so we'll need to head off to the Apple Shop over the weekend to sort that all out so we can get other things besides the camera to work on the new toy.

Unfortunately, my happy winner is the same child who has already managed to lose his school folder (quite a large item, I still can't work out how he's lost that) and a library book in the past month. We have had strong words tonight about making sure the iPod returns to the same place

*or harrassed....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our new oven

I posted a while ago that I thought our oven was dying. It seemed to work okay for a while after I said that, but it turned out that those were just the dying throes and last gasps. I cooked a ginger cake in it on Sunday morning for church morning tea and then did Anzac biscuits in it on Sunday night. Last night when we were going to bake up some lamb chops for dinner there was no heat. I think the element has finally gone. It's nice to think it had a good last day of baking yummy treats before it was all over.

So this morning it was back to our friends at the local electrical retailers to find a new one. We have Bosch everything else in our kitchen and laundry, so we are now going to have a Bosch oven joining the ranks. It will hold our biggest tray, and, joy of joys, we are spending a little bit extra to get the pyrolytic cleaning function since cleaning the oven is probably up there with my least favourite household tasks.

I had to compromise on the model I was originally planning to get. That one wasn't going to be available in their shop till the end of next week and not installed until the week after that. To get something in and running by early next week I had to get a slightly cheaper model, but the only things it didn't have that my originally chosen one had were telescopic oven racks and push in oven dials. Not essential features. I was told that telescopic oven racks let you pull the oven shelf out when it has a roast on it and they will hold up the baking dish so you don't have to completely remove it from the oven to give the roast a baste. Meh. I can live without that if it saves me $200. And I liked the dials on the one we're getting better anyway.

One thing I did want to go for was a child lock. We have a little household helper who loves to follow us around the house twisting the dials on washing machines, ovens and whatever else he can get his hands on, which means that too many things get turned off when they shouldn't be. His stealth attacks on the washing machine mid-cycle have been particularly annoying of late.

So the oven is being delivered and installed on Monday. We will be ad libbing meals until then since every meal I had left on our menu plan for the week involved use of the oven. But it's almost cold enough here this week to have soup for a few days. Or, if the weather clears up, we'll do barbecues every night. 

And then when the oven does arrive, the festival of baking shall begin!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What I'm listening to

On Spotify. Spotify is my weekend discovery. You should check it out if you don't know about it already. It's very cool.

Boring times

I'm writing a job application. It's not much fun. I'm trying to see if I can just cut and paste from a previous application I did a few months ago but unfortunately the selection criteria aren't really lining up nicely so I can do that. I'm not sure whether I want the job or not which is not helping with motivation.

My tutoring job starts up again on Tuesday afternoon. I'm teaching the same subject as I did this time last year. Referencing is the first topic they cover. The best bit of the whole tutorial is the getting to know you activity at the start where we find out what superpower everybody wants to have and how they ended up in occupational therapy. I'd love to hear a few more creative reasons than "I really want to help people." Not that that's a bad reason to be in the course, but after I've heard it eighteen times I'm craving new ideas. There are a few repeaters from last year, including a few of the spectacular failures from my last group. Fortunately most of them have joined the other tutor's class so I don't have to go through the ordeal of teaching them again.

And the OT students at the school are coming up for their halfway assessments this week. On Friday, one of them was off sick, just as I discovered this person hadn't documented progress notes on any of the work that they had done. This person had been sitting with all the others while they all appeared to be busily writing notes, so I'm trying to work out what he was doing for all of that time. It will be time for some hard words this week if the notes aren't up to date by the time I get back in on Thursday. The word "failing" may have to be mentioned.

I do miss the days of deciding what biscuits I will make, or what book I should read, or which DVD series I should watch, or which room I should think about cleaning (and then not get around to doing it). No more maternity leave ever again. It's very sad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Life hurts some days. There are a few things going on here that are making me a bit sad right now. Effort feels unrewarded. I'm trying to take in a lot of new information that my poor stuck-in-maternity-leave brain isn't coping with. Feeling close to the limits of my ability to manage everything.

Many of these things are beyond my control. Of course, in my stressed state, I want to control them.

It's one of those times where I need to lean on the One who is stronger than I am. But strangely enough, for me these are the times when I always seem to want to do it all myself.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

C.B.R.P. update

I fell off doing the daily readings for a week or two when I went back to work but I'm trying to get back on the wagon. I'm into Numbers now. I have ground my way through the first ten chapters about the census and the Levites and a particularly difficult chapter about a whole bunch of offerings.

And today I've moved onto some more exciting action in the story, the bit where the Israelites send out the advance party to scope out the Promised Land and they come back freaked out about all the tall and strong people there. I always have a bit of a giggle at them being scared off by the tall people. Maybe it's because I have a tall husband.

The Bible Society daily email verses at the moment are also from Numbers so they are lining up nicely with what I'm reading.

Here's the last couple of verses from Numbers 13 (the above image is from here):

32 So (AB)they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and (AC)all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the (AD)Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the(AE)Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves (AF)like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sharing some lighthouse love

I'm not sure how often I've shared with you lovely readers how much I like looking at lighthouses, but I think it's been a while since I talked about them in here so I thought it was time to share the love again.

This is Deal Island Lighthouse in Bass Strait, the highest located lighthouse in Australia at 320 metres above sea level. It's not a tall lighthouse though, at only twenty metres tall. It was deactivated in 1992 after lights were installed on nearby North East and South West Islands.

It is my dream to one day tour the whole coast of Australia to see as many lighthouses as I can. I think lack of funds might put an end to my grand plans, but it's nice to think I might see some of them. I've now seen all the lighthouses on the north coast of New South Wales from Fingal Head down to Crowdy Head but one day I would love to do all the southern state ones.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An interesting sermon on the Proverbs 31 woman

Check out the link here if the video above isn't working. It goes for a long time. I don't think you need to listen to all of it to get the gist of what he has to say. He does say that women should read their Bibles and fill their minds with the word of God. That part I don't have an issue with. It's when he starts to get into detail about what a woman's life should look like that we depart company.

He spends a lot of time talking about women cooking. Here are some examples:

31:00 Women, are you too busy? You better be too busy cooking because that's what the Bible says you should be doing.

36:12 I didn't let my wife have a TV when we got married. She didn't know what to do with her time because we had no kids and she didn't have a job. I told her "Just cook me three awesome meals a day. Just really hit it out of the park."

37:30 I just wanted my wife to do something that mattered. Like cooking!

38:20 I really just want to give my wife a ton of freedom. Cook what you want!

53:25 A virtuous woman is one who has a plan. She's got a plan for breakfast, she's got a plan for lunch, she's got a plan for dinner.

Okay. So I'm quoting some of this out of context (and some of it I have paraphrased...). But I was left with the distinct feeling that he really wants his wife to get into that kitchen and cook him something. I haven't quoted the bit where he checks up on his wife via webcam when he's away and if she's not in the kitchen, he asks her why she's not there.

And don't get me started on what he has to say about public schools being run by Satan and how the University is filling your mind with scum. When I trawled through some of the comments on this and found a link to his wife's blog (called ARE THEY ALL YOURS?!?? - and yes, the capitals and question marks/exclamation marks are quoted verbatim...) I discovered they are into all kinds of conspiracy theories on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Scary stuff.

I know this probably isn't an indication of a meek and quiet spirit (something else he talks about at length in his sermon) but I did find a little perverse enjoyment in the fact that while I was sitting here watching his video and writing this blog post, my husband was busy preparing tonight's dinner....

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Here's a good up to date handwriting assessment

Whenever I have an OT student, I feel this need to make sure I'm actually using the most up to date resources and assessments. It's part of making sure that I'm at least one step ahead of them at all times. That's part of the reason I enjoy having students, although the constant thinking does wear me out ...and may lead to periods of extreme crankiness at home....

Last night's internet searching yielded the McMaster Handwriting Assessment Protocol. It looks pretty good. I'm not sure why I haven't heard more about it around the OT world. I suppose I have been on leave for a while. And I haven't done any professional development on handwriting for some time.

It's pretty detailed. It covers composition, near and far point copying, dictation and writing from memory, as well as giving a writing speed in letters per minute. There are a few Canadian and US-centric words like "candy" and "jar" in it that I might need to change. I don't know if we'll be able to use all of it with each of the kids we need to screen. But I think I might look at using parts of it. It looks like a good way for the students to consider that handwriting is a bit more involved than just copying the "quick brown fox" sentence out once (which I think has historically been standard practice for many OTs, including me....).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Survived the big first day

My four OT students arrived today, so work has ramped up to a new level as I've been busy sorting out their caseloads and putting them into classrooms. I'm about to crash on the couch to recover while my wonderful husband cooks pea and haloumi fritters for dinner. He took the day off today since I won't usually be working on Mondays.

The school was buzzing all day. The new Kindies all arrived for their big first day at school. Lots of photo moments out in front of the school sign. One of the mothers hung around outside her kid's classroom for the entire day because she was worried he might get upset without her. Her husband brought her lunch and a drink at lunchtime. It'll be interesting to see if she's still hanging around for that long by Thursday when I go to work again.

And now for two days off. Although there is plenty of thinking still to be done before Thursday....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

R.I.P. Maz....

Our little purple Mazda 121 has died.

As it turned out, it wasn't just the clutch that had gone. They quoted us around $2000 worth of repairs that would have been essential to get us past this year's registration check. That's more than what the car is worth so it's time to bite the bullet and get a new one. At least we are going to have my income starting up again so we can afford it.

Having a very tall husband has some advantages. When it comes to purchasing cars, many can be eliminated from the shopping list straight away because he won't fit into them. People always thought it was funny that we had the Mazda. It looks pretty small from the outside, but it was a tall car with plenty of head room inside. That's where many of them fall down.

So after all other options were eliminated (too small, too dodgy, too expensive) we decided on a Honda Jazz. We're going to get a broker to do the running around for us due to the inconvenient timing of Maz dying just as I am starting my new job. I'd love a red one, but would be happy with blue. Don't want black, white, silver or yellow (definitely not yellow because our kids have discovered "spotto" which they shout very loudly whenever a yellow car is anywhere in the vicinity).

And it's kind of funky to be replacing Maz with Jazz.

Summer holiday Book Chat: The Hiding Place

Over the summer holiday break, we read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, a great Christian classic. It's a very inspirational story. Compared to many other stories of the Holocaust, this one left me feeling very uplifted in many ways, despite all the horrific stories about how the Jews were treated. God was truly working in many ways through Corrie and her family to bring people into His kingdom even in the concentration camps.

As a child, I remember seeing this book on my Grandma's bookshelf when I was staying with her and being curious about it. I never read it then though. Glad I finally had the opportunity to do so. It's really worth reading.

Our next book is Light Dawns in Nepal, a story of how missionaries entered Nepal back in the early 1950s to establish hospitals for people with leprosy. One of the members of our book group is a young Christian teacher who spent all of last year working in a school in Kathmandu for children of missionaries in Nepal and has now returned home to teach here. She is going to be sharing with us some of her experiences of the country as well. I think this will really help to make the book come alive for us.

And I am eyeing off Lit: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke for later in the year. I think that one will be great for helping me to become a bit more intentional about what I read.

Anyone else read any good books lately that I can add to my list?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday night music

A bit shattered here after my first couple of days of work. And next week I have to do a three day week (fortunately that is just a one off, and I will return to two days per week after that. Two days is hard enough).

Tonight I have to read the second half of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom for Book Chat tomorrow afternoon. And read about the same amount of Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. That one was due back at the library today, I'm hoping if I return it tomorrow I'll escape a fine because it's not ages late. Sadly it's in huge demand so I can't extend it any longer.

Normal blogging service will resume....well, not sure when. Lots to do in the next week or so, but I'm sure I will be checking in at some point and writing something. Don't expect too much exciting news though....

So here is some Piano Guys for your entertainment in the meantime. The bits where he uses his forearm on the keyboard are incredible!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

At the end of Mum and Dad's street... looks like this:

But this is a pretty standard view when there's a heavy downpour for a few days there. I remember it looking like that lots of times when I was little.

It's sounding like most of Brisbane has escaped flooding this time. Maybe just a few streets have gone under.

God is good.

Drying out

The rain and wind finally ended last night. We seemed to get a bit of tail end rain and wind activity here after everyone else was saying the rain had stopped where they were.

It's really quite still here now, which feels a bit strange after two days of being blown around.

Now for a few days of full on humidity, when what we really need is some dry breezes to make the house feel less damp.

It seems like the ex-cyclone is finally about to head out to sea south of Sydney. That's some weather event!

Praying for those who are still facing flooding. It doesn't seem as bad in Brisbane as they first thought. But further north in Bundaberg it is still very bad. I always think river flooding is a cruel thing. By the time the water arrives, the sun is usually shining and there's hardly a cloud in the sky. Flooding makes sense when it's raining, but when the weather's fine it just seems wrong.

Image from here. This is about five minutes' drive from our house. But the water has all gone from that spot this morning!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Still here

It's only raining a little bit here now. Just passing showers now rather than the steady and heavier rain we had all yesterday afternoon and evening.

But the wind is still VERY strong. Last night I could see the glass on our sliding doors bending during the stronger gusts. Freaky. Our power is still on, and no trees have come down here, but our bins are out waiting to get collected and the lids have blown open and some stuff has escaped. We moved the sun lounge from beside our pool into the garage on Saturday night in case it got windy. Lucky we don't have both cars in there otherwise there may not have been room for it.

I am thankful this morning that the detailed flood reports are out for the Brisbane suburbs and my parents' home is on the "unlikely to flood" list. Some lower lying homes in the next street to theirs will probably end up with some water through them though.

Anyway, for an ex-tropical cyclone, I have to say this still feels rather cyclonic....

Photo from here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

There's a bit of wild weather going on here....

It's raining hard outside. It's so windy that the rain is blowing horizontally. Lots of trees bending in the breeze outside. There are tornado warnings out for the rest of the evening. We are up on a hill so it's windy but we're not at risk of any flooding where we are.

They've just issued a flood warning for Brisbane and Ipswich. But they are not expecting it will be as bad as 2011. I'm praying that my parents will be okay. Perhaps there's been a bit more rain in the local creeks near their home this time compared with last time. But the ground isn't as wet as it was before the last flood happened. They only had water to the floorboards last time. I think they will be okay, although knowing what their anxiety levels are like, I'm pretty sure they'll head for higher ground. Last time they went to my brother's place until the danger was past. He's moved into a lower lying place since then, though. His new house didn't flood in 2011 but some of his backyard was underwater.

The weather seems to be moving pretty quickly to the south, which is good news (although not for our friends in the northern rivers and mid north coast of NSW). At least the rain will be gone from here after the next few hours. There are flood warnings all the way down to the Hunter now.

Who would have thought a week ago that a little old category one cyclone in the Gulf of Carpentaria could wreak so much havoc all the way down the Queensland coast?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

This is a real conversation that happened in our garage yesterday

Context:  An awful morning. It's been raining off and on during the night. Dog poo discovered on front deck (they don't seem to like pooing on wet grass). Big plans of movies with the older boys and a trip to Officeworks to buy some work supplies for me because the two little kids are at child care for the day. They leave for child care with their father. The second car blows up as I am about to drive out with the two older ones to the final lesson of the 8 year old's swimming intensive program. I realise that with five minutes to go before swimming class starts that we are not going to make it. Call Chris and ask if he can bring the other car home from work so we can do all our previously mentioned jobs and get to swimming. Call swimming pool to see if 8 year old can go to a later class. Burning smell coming from second car as I re-enter garage. Chris arrives home in the silver bus.

We are discussing who will call the NRMA and wait at home with the blown up car (which eventually needed towing), and who will take the kids to swimming.

Me:  "I just can't DO this anymore...."  (accompanied by loud sobbing).

Chris:  "Well, it's called LIFE. You just have to do it."

Yep. That sums it up pretty well actually.

And we did survive the day. My blogging buddy Deb has a great regular Friday post called Thank God it's Friday, where we can thank God for the many blessings He provides for us. Yesterday, I was very thankful that not every day is as awful as that one was.

We are still waiting for news on how much the car repairs will cost. I don't think a burning smell is good. They think the clutch may have gone....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm going back to work

I've been in a slight state of denial about this. I think perhaps I may have drastically under-estimated the amount of preparation that might be required.

If I was the sort of person who was really good at winging it, I think I'd feel a bit more comfortable. Over the last few years,  I've certainly improved in my ability to jump in and do something without having it planned to the tiniest detail. I think that happens when you have children. Nothing much is predictable with kids so you just learn to go with the flow a bit more.

But there are a lot of unknowns about this job. It's all a bit experimental. I'll be going into a school for a short period of time (six weeks) to provide an occupational therapy service to kids in Year 1 and 2 with mild to moderate learning and motor skill difficulties. So far, so good. I've long thought that the services I provide in an office block a long way away from the school environment where the kids spend the majority of their week are not particularly relevant. The hard part is that I'll be doing this as a clinical educator. This means I'll be taking a group of four Occupational Therapy students with me into the school and the service will be provided by them, under my guidance. This is where it can get a bit tricky. I've worked in a University student clinic previously. A lot depends on the competence of the students. If they're not much good or not very organised, things can go bad very quickly.

And the school I'm going into is a school where I don't know anyone. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. It's good to know that I'm not going to be running into the kids (and their parents, that's usually the harder part) we'll be working with when I head out to the shops. But that means I'm going to have to build some relationships with the staff pretty quickly. I get to start when school goes back next week. The occupational therapy students don't start until the following week. That gives me two days to meet the relevant teachers, get started on building a relationship with them, and talk to them about how they would like us to work within their classrooms before the OT students turn up on the following Monday. This would all feel much easier if the school kids weren't all starting the new school year, and the teachers weren't having to get to know them at the same time as they are getting to know us. We are due to do another one of these short term contracts later in the year (a ten week block with fourth year students for that one) and I really think the timing of that one will be a lot better since the school year will be in full swing, the teachers will know the kids quite well and things will generally be far more settled and organised.

So there are a multitude of relationships to be negotiated here. There are two other therapists job sharing this position with me (one I know already, the other I've only met once), I need to get to know the staff at Community Health who are providing funds for the placement, and the project co-ordinator who is based in yet another organisation. So far, she seems to be a bit absent-minded when it comes to remembering to organise stuff for us. Not ideal.

It all looks a bit overwhelming at this point in time for little old introverted me, which might be why I've had my head in the sand for a few weeks about it happening.

I need to concentrate on the positives. The money I earn will be helpful for paying for the multitude of extracurricular activities that my kids are doing. The school seem encouraging of us coming in to do this. The Learning Support Teacher is very friendly and supportive. Hopefully that reflects what the other school staff are like as well. I will be able to be flexible and accommodating of what they want. Anything is better than nothing since these kids wouldn't be accessing a service anywhere else, so whatever we provide will be useful. I'd also like to be optimistic and think that the OT students won't behave like selfish Gen Y's, but that one's still a bit up in the air.

And I need to pray that it will all come together and that I will feel a sense of peace rather than a sense of frustration when things take longer than I'd like them to. This is a situation when I can't be in control of everything. But if I can remember that God has things in His control then perhaps I won't feel as anxious about it all.