Monthly Archives: October 2007

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Man, I hope not!

What a week! I have leached money in the direction of almost every medical institute in Townsville. Are you ready for this?

Last Friday we took our son to the paediatrician about his chest. This is a little more serious than we realised. He has always had a dip in his chest, but with the onset of puberty and his rapid, practically superhuman, growth over that last eighteen months it has become much more pronounced. Initial chest x-rays indicate that his ribs are touching his heart and altering its shape. There appears to be just a matter of two inches from his spine to his sternum at one part of his chest. The doctor found an innocent heart murmur which has never been a part of our son’s profile and that he has a significantly reduced lung capacity. His height falls on the 50th percentile while his lung capacity is on the 10th percentile.

On Monday our daughter had a mantoux test. This is a requirement for her visa to have a student residency in France next year.

On Tuesday our son had a CT scan done to create a 3-D reconstruction of his rib cage. Amazing!! It shows us that his right lung space is much smaller than his left. This asymmetry is caused by his heart propping up the left hand side of his rib cage.


On Wednesday Thomas the dog had surgery to repair an aural haematoma. I will spare you a photo of the result. BLAH! He now has a sponge stitched through his ear with what appears to be kitchen twine! (I’m sure that it is not kitchen twine, but it is certainly not a fine thread!) He will need to wear a plastic bucket on his head for the next two weeks to stop him from touching or scratching his ear. He is not impressed!

On Thursday our daughter had a BCG injection. Again I’ll spare you a photo of the blister that is forming. This used to be a standard vaccination in Australia, but TB is no longer considered a problem here. This is good for our country, but it makes getting the vaccination difficult. It leaves an ugly blister that will take twelve weeks to heal. The nurse administering it was kind enough to do it at the back of her arm, so it won’t be as visible when she wears her tiny formal dress. (If she doesn’t like it she can always just forgo France and stay at home with her mother forever and ever and ever!!)

Today our son has an echocardiogram. It is to rule out any problems with his heart before we proceed any further. It is just precautionary and it is not expected to find anything.

In a couple of weeks we will take all of this medical information about our son to a surgeon and proceed from there. We don’t really know what to expect, except of course that he requires a surgery. We have a million questions and will seek that many answers before our final decision is made.

Damn, I guess there will be a lot more doctors in our future!


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Conspiracy Theory

On Monday my Pete flew to Brisbane for work. He’ll only be gone a few days. I may have mentioned before that I hate to be alone. I’m not even really alone, the kids are here, but it just doesn’t feel right to sleep in an empty bed. I get very little sleep when my Pete is not here. I roam the house at all hours of the night. On a positive note – in lieu of sleep I get lots of sewing done (actually unpicking today, but that’s a whole other story!).

SO my Pete left at about 5pm on Monday. At 9:30pm I discovered that one of the dogs has an enormous swelling in one ear. Interesting, isn’t it, that these things happen like this. Now I’m not saying that in any way that my Pete has caused the dog’s ear to swell, but he is in this house for three hundred and fifty days per year. On those days he would deal with any dog / vet situations. BUT… just hours after he has left the city, a dog / vet situation has arisen and I am the only one here to deal with it. It is very hard not to think that in some way the universe has conspired and caused the poor dog to suffer an ear swelling condition. It could have happened on Sunday or Thursday next week, but it happened today.

Thomas (the dog) has broken a blood vessel in his ear and today I am taking him to have a minor surgery to repair it.

BEFORE my Pete left:


AFTER my Pete left:


Poor Thomas. Poor me. Bloody universe!


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For My Listening Pleasure

On the weekend I discovered quilting podcasts. Who knew that they were out there in the world wide web? Really it shouldn’t surprise me. There is so much available that it astounds me!


So I loaded up my beautiful blue ipod and listened to discussions about thread and fabric design and quilting inspirations while I quilted. (Fascinating, I know) I quilted for the longest time without taking a break. The time just seemed to fly by.

It made me think that perhaps I should buy some audio books and listen to them while I quilt. I enjoy reading, but I often feel guilty because I like to take a whole day to read a book. I hate to read for ten minutes now, then half an hour tomorrow. If I start a book I want to finish it right away. Taking whole days at a time to read seems, to my mind, to be a little self indulgent. BUT…. I could listen and quilt at the same time! Good thinking!

Off I went to itunes to see what was on offer. Now, here is the stumbling block, audio books are damned expensive. $45.00 for a book. Can I justify that? The actual book is half that price. Is my time more valuable than the price of an audio book? Does any one else use audio books? Where do you buy yours? Please share your ideas with me!

On another note I would like to wish my fair nephew a very happy birthday for this weekend.


My kids were so delighted to have a new cousin when he was born. They continue to delight in his company.

Oh and his doughnut cake was delicious!! I had the white chocolate doughnut. Sussanah refers to it as white mocklate, because it makes a mockery of real chocolate.


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Day Dreamer

Every report card that I ever brought home to my parents from school said that I was a day dreamer. Even now I spend a lot of time in my head. I love looking at things and seeing their details then just thinking about them. I would like to say to all of those teachers that it’s not such a bad thing. Every now and then it turns into a germ of an idea which I follow through, but most of the time it just makes me happy to think about stuff.


My husband and my children are dreamers too. I like it and I imagine that we’ll be dreamers forever!

I think that it was supposed to be a negative comment on my report cards, but I am very happy to embrace it.

What about you? What are you happy to embrace about yourselves?


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My Platform

I believe that education should be of primary concern to all citizens of our country.

As we approach the coming election all citizens should consider issues of education above all others when selecting their preferred candidate.



So…what did your kids do at school today?

In case you are unclear, that is a snowman that transforms into an aeroplane when you open your finger. I am so proud of my son. His creativity knows no bounds. (Please read this statement with the intended sarcasm!)


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Self Talk

Last week I went to a workshop about social and emotional wellbeing. I often feel rather cynical about self-help type of programs. You know, those that purport to make you more effective, efficient or an all-round great person. I feel like they are saying that I need to be better in order to get along in this world, that stress is caused by not being good enough. My own view is that the world needs to slow down a little…then everyone would be less stressed. I don’t believe that it is possible to do it all and have it all without being driven to the point of obsession, and that is not healthy.

I did, however, find the session that I attended to be very worthwhile. It was about self-talk and how that leads to attitudes which affect behaviour. We were considering it in terms of the behaviour that you see in children, but I started to look a bit broader at people that I am dealing with, colleagues, friends, family etc. I found it to be applicable to all situations.

It was particularly applicable to me. I am a procrastinator. When I need to begin a project I take the longest time. About a quarter of the way through the project I pick up steam and I finish it really quickly. It is fairly rare for me to not finish something  I have begun, but oh so common for me to not start something that I want to do. This workshop pointed out the self-talk that leads to this attitude and how that is affecting my behaviour. That is enough for me. Awareness is nine-tenths of a cure in this case. I am procrastinating because I am actually thinking the project through, considering every possible problem and solution, making an immensely complex plan in my mind for how to handle what may happen. I am STILL attempting to be a perfectionist. I do not have any ability to be impulsive when I am like this, yet some of my most creative work has come when I allowed myself to work without thinking.

I am controlling of my environment. When something is suggested to me my initial response is always ‘no, I can’t do that’. This is because I have not yet had time to think it through, work out the problems and how I wil deal with them. I can’t even impulsively go driving on the weekend. NO, I can’t. I need to have notice and think it through. This can make me inert, but that’s ok because inertia is safe. I have a neon sign in my head that says ‘that is dangerous.’ I do not allow myself to be put in a risky situation. Any situation that I have not fully considered is assumed to be risky.

Most of the time these things are ok with me. We need all types of people in this world. The cautious among us balance out the risk takers. There has to be a voice of reason in every crowd. If everyone of us was impulsive our society would be out of control. I am generally happy to be a moderate person and happy to allow others to take risks. Sometimes though, like now, when big changes and uncertainties loom on the horizon for my family, it starts to be difficult. I would like to make a coccoon that my family will sit in, they can’t get out, you can’t get in, and we’ll just wait there until I have finished thinking and planning it all out in my head. It won’t change anything, but I’ll feel a little more in control.

Last night Sussanah rang me at 6:09pm to ask me to go to dinner and movies at 7pm. less that one hour’s notice. My self talk says “What!! I haven’t planned for this…” But I thought about how that is influencing me and making me inert. So I said, “I’ll call you back in half an hour.” (That is different to ‘no’) and I did…and I went to the movie. I enjoyed myself.

Yesterday I looked at a project that I have begun, all cut out, just waiting to be sewn and I decided to add some hand stitched details.


So I did. They are done, all of them finished.

A little bit of self-awareness seems to have gone a long way. These two anocdotes may not seem to be earth shattering to you, but I am very pleased with myself. Today I will do more. Maybe I’ll even drive somewhere without knowing where that will be!

What a risk taker!!!


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Too, Too Tired.

I am…

 But it is totally self-inflicted. I need to go to bed earlier and I need to sleep all night. The following post is mostly an incoherent ramble, but I’m too tired to care.

I went to see this with the kids. It was very, very cool. My ears are still tingling, but in a very good way.

Now, you cold climate crazy people, I need your advice. Ashleigh will land in Paris in late January. When she leaves here it will likely be 32 degrees C. She’ll land to face around 5 degrees. She is going to need a coat. We do not have anything suitable in NQ. I think that 24 degrees is cool, 21 is cold. We just don’t have to deal with Paris-style temperatures. I need your good coat advice. I am happy to purchase online or through ebay, but what would you look for?

I’ll leave you with a riddle. It is irrelevant to everything else in this post, but I don’t care. I’m too tired to care.

How do you silence two thirteen year old boys?


Make them blow up forty balloons. 40 balloons + 2 boys = 60 minutes of silence (punctuated by the odd farty sound made by releasing air from the balloon – the height of humour!)


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Basic Lives

These instructions came with a towel.


Wash it…then dry it.

When did we become so stupid????


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On the Beach

Last weekend we spent a couple of nights at Balgal Beach. It is about 60km north of Townsville.

This photo was taken at 3pm on Sunday.


Hundred of metres of beautiful beach and not another soul to be seen. How lucky can you be? The sea was a little bit rough. It is rare to see so much white water. Our coastline is with the Great Barrier Reef. That means that the water is too shallow to generate waves. There are no surfers in North Queensland, despite our coastal lifestyle.

We walked as far as you can see in this direction.

At the end there is an outlet which has been cut off by a sandbank.


It’s alright to look at this water, but you should never get too close. It is a perfect habitat for saltwater crocodiles. I have never seen one, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t live here.

We have been coming to Balgal Beach since before the children were born. They have spent many, many hours beachcombing along this shore. We very rarely swim in the open water. It is too cold in winter and too dangerous in summer. In the summer box jellyfish are in these waters. They are deadly. True North Queenslanders call people who swim in the ocean ‘tourists’.

When the kids were little we would dig a hole in the sand at low tide and let it fill with water. They would call it a swimming hole and we would spend the whole time shoring up the dam wall to stop it from emptying back into the ocean.


This weekend we were looking for a sand dollar skeleton. These are just amazing, but elusive. It is difficult to find them whole as the waves frequently break them up before you find them. I love them and wanted to take a macro shot. It took us about 45 minutes of beachcombing before my daughter’s eagle eyes spotted this beauty.


Fancy a skeleton being that pretty.

I have been quilting feathers and thinking that I am so clever…


but I can’t compete with nature. Nature has done it all before, without even trying!


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Today is my daughter’s seventeenth birthday.


This was taken last night at her birthday party with a friend. We bought her the little black dress that she wore to stunning effect and the digital camera to take to France next year.

She is an adult. She is capable and responsible, she is intelligent and sensible, she is caring and social, she is beautiful in every way. She is a completed project. One that my Pete and I have worked on very hard, with our entire beings, since 1990. We have invested so much energy, thought, belief and philosophy into her, but it isn’t really necessary any more. You are looking at the finished model of a tiny baby that we met so long ago. From now on we are just proud onlookers as she takes her life and shapes it.

I am incredibly proud of her, incredibly proud of the family that has supported and nurtured her for so long, but it still makes me want to cry.


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