BY Amanda

04/01 Direct Link

We're half way through April and I'm just beginning to think about writing for this month. I know - the rules are 100 words each day but life, with all it's challenges, has gotten in the way of my commitment this month. I'm honestly not even sure if I'll make it all the way through this time, but I need to at least try and so I'm making a start. So far April has been hard work, both literally and emotionally. Three days interstate at residential school for Uni, four family members with birthdays and looming assignments it's been challenging...

04/02 Direct Link
April Fool's day passed uneventfully for me. I started thinking about who came up with the idea of April fools day and so I did some research. Apparently, it was originally tied with New Year's day. When New Year's day was changed to 1st Jan the news took some time to filter through due to word of mouth by horse and rider etc. Those who were behind the times were ridiculed and labelled as fools. The day originally became known as "All Fools Day" and later as "April Fools Day". It's bizarre that this occurred and we still keep it today.
04/03 Direct Link
It is strange that as I get older things seem to be more poignant. In some areas I am much more self assured, in others my insecurities are more entrenched and rear their heads at the most inopportune times. Take residential schools at university for instance. This is an opportunity to catch up with fellow students, to consolidate knowledge with the presence of a lecturer (a very rare situation) and to take 3 days off to focus completely on study. It's a wonderful opportunity to take time out and leave the distractions of work and family behind. 
04/04 Direct Link
The negative side is that it costs a small fortune. Firstly,  I need to work hours equivalent to 3 days extra to be able to take the time off. Then the airfares are extortionate unless I can manage to book very, very early. The accommodation at uni is best described as "adequate". The units are sometimes clean, but never pristine. The food is cafeteria style and can be wholesome depending on your menu choice, but certainly not inspiring, and the heating is usually non-existent. I spend long hours travelling ,eating overpriced airport food and arrive stiff and sore.
04/05 Direct Link
The other negative side to residential school are my insecurities. No matter how many times they are proved to be unfounded they rear their heads each time I prepare to leave. I am firmly convinced that everyone else I am studying with, or who attends uni is younger, prettier, smarter etc etc etc than I am. I feel like a geriatric who has the nerve to impose herself on this unsuspecting class and lecturer. When I arrive reality sets in and I realise that this is nowhere near the case. But it doesn't stop it being my realty during preparation.
04/06 Direct Link
In addition to studying frantically to make sure I'm up to date before I go to residential school I need to make sure that everything at work and home are completely up to date before I leave. This involves 18 hour days making sure that I have pre-empted every problem that might arise. I acknowledge that some of this is clearly OCD, but some of it is necessary as no one actually does my job while I'm away and a considerable amount of information doesn't ever need to leave my head at other times. Being uncontactable has it's drawbacks.
04/07 Direct Link
Happy Birthday my little man. Now you're one! I remember the joy of being told I would be a nanna again and the anticipation that grew for those long months until you arrived. We came to see you and mummy when you were only a few hours old and the moment I first held you in my arms was sacred. My sweet, precious grandson. My love for you is both general and unique. I love you as I love all my grandchildren and yet there is nothing general about the intensity of my love that is just for you. 
04/08 Direct Link
Friday's are bitter sweet. There is the final rush to make sure all is ready for 2 days away from work and the sweet knowledge the next few days are mine. True, they are usually taken up with other commitments such as study, family and church, but at least they are not complicated by trying to juggle work as well. As I close my office door on Friday's it is usually with finger's silently crossed that nothing will go pear shaped over the weekend at work and with some excitement that I won't be here for a couple of days.
04/09 Direct Link
With assignments and residential school looming it's hard to imagine that there is anything else happening in the world. My day is absorbed with last minute study, washing, ironing, taking time out with my grandchildren and double and triple checking I've left instructions for all eventualities. The money for the cleaning lady, my travel itinerary, cleaning the car before it goes in for it's service while I'm away. It feels as if a thousand domestic things are fighting for my attention while I try to grapple with analysis of variance, multiple regression and correlational matrixes. My head wants to explode.
04/10 Direct Link
With my heart in my mouth I head off to residential school. Bathurst is about 2,000 kms and 2 plane trips away. I leave at 10am and will hopefully arrive by 6pm tonight. I've given up trying to eat healthily. I stoically munch on a refrigerated roll provided by the stewardess that may have been soft a couple of days ago, but now resembles the consistency of cardboard. I toy with the idea of leaving it and getting something in the airport, but should something go wrong with my baggage there will be no time for anything else.
04/11 Direct Link
As usual, I arrived with baggage in tact. The flights were reasonably pleasant and all was well. My fears were once again unfounded. Yet I cannot seem to draw on this experience when I'm faced with them. I caught up with some students that I've studied other subjects with and it was a pleasant experience. In fact, I'm amazed as I speak to others that I meet for the first time just how many are repeating this subject, and I realise that I'm not all that dumb after all. Tomorrow is the first day of lectures and life feels good.
04/12 Direct Link
I've spent the morning explaining stats to other students. Wow - once again I realise that dumb people don't do this because they don't get it. Now, I am not saying I'm better than anyone else. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but at least I've identified a strength. The lecturer is a lovely Indian man who constantly apologises for his accent. He has found the most novel ways to try and bring statistics to life, featuring multiple packets of Just Right cereal, and I'm almost euphoric because it all makes sense! I've gone from dreading to loving res school. 
04/13 Direct Link
My mind is a blur with lectures. Luckily everyone else (including the lecturer) seems to be experiencing the same problem and so we go slowly with frequent breaks. Six hours of lectures on complex statistical procedures are enough to make anyone's head spin. I'm taking notes for a disabled student and tonight I have notes to write up. Hopefully that will consolidate the learning of the day. The weather has turned colder, it was 3 degrees last night and it certainly keeps you awake if a little uncomfortable while trying to study. I'm glad I brought my hot water bottle!
04/14 Direct Link

Today I'm back at work. I travelled back from Bathurst last night, arrived late and overslept this morning. That's not a good start to the day when I'm in charge of arrangements for the departmental planning day. My boss is not a happy chappy. She insists that I join as group as they speak of clinical indicators and I find my mind wandering back to multiple regression. I wish I had pen and paper and could doodle. I'm clerical, worse, I'm the PA - I can't add anything to the discussion of clinical concerns. This is just a waste of time.

04/15 Direct Link
Waste of time or not, when the boss says you need to attend, you attend. At least you do in my job. I left the venue yesterday armed with reems of other people's notes on butcher's paper that I am somehow supposed to transpose into minutes. Yay for me!!! I return to find a week's worth of work, the usual crises and I'm exhausted. I will be here until late tonight playing catch up and will be too tired to study again. Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday! Has it really only been a week since the last one?  
04/16 Direct Link
We've had 2 more birthdays during the week. Tyler is now 3 and Nathan is 8 today! Where has the time gone? I promised I would at least attend your birthday party and I did. I didn't stay long, but I did tell you I wouldn't. You seemed to like your present though. The lava lamp you told me you had been dreaming of you wanted it sooooo much. I'd forgotten how keenly you feel things at 8! It was great to see you all playing and having such fun with your friends. Happy birthday my special boys! 
04/17 Direct Link
Today is Sunday. I love Sunday's. They are a time to regroup and relax as well as providing much needed time to recentre. I downloaded the PAF programme today and started to do my family history again. Thanks to a temperamental external hard drive my previous records have been lost, at least for the present time. It was easier than I thought to start again, thanks in part to old fashioned paper records and I've really enjoyed it. I even found a photograph of my great, great grandfather who played professional football for England. That was a pretty cool find!
04/18 Direct Link
I chatted with an old friend tonight and it was wonderful to catch up again. Some people really are kindred spirits. They understand what you mean even before you've finished your sentence. They don't judge. They love you exactly for who you are, warts and all, and you come away from visiting with them feeling refreshed, renewed and having gone home for a while. They provide a safe place to be myself and feel how I feel without justification or reservation. The amazing thing is that after speaking with them I always feel better than when I arrived. Thankyou!!!
04/19 Direct Link
I spent a couple of hours yesterday counselling with someone who is experiencing significant life challenges. All he really needed was a listening ear and reassurance, which gave him the confidence to make some interim plans. Because of the caste system that he is born into in India any decision he makes could have disastrous consequences both for him and his parents. That's a huge burden to be carrying. There is a lot to be said for living in a Western culture. My heart went out to him as we discussed his predicament and the options available to him. 
04/20 Direct Link
We are renovating our emergency department and putting in a separate paediatric area. To decorate the walls in the waiting area my boss decided to hold a drawing competition to find the best pictures. Unfortunately, our media and comms person is completely out of her depth and so I've spent the last few days frantically trying to find ways to advertise this to the community, as well as obtaining donations for prizes. It's been a welcome relief from the day to day tasks I usually do, but they will still be waiting for me when I've finished this project.
04/21 Direct Link

A really unusual thing happened today and I find myself wondering why. You came in and sat and chatted. You didn't ask me to do anything, you just sat and chatted. I have been the victim of your anger and outbursts for months now and all of a sudden you've decided to just chat. I smiled and played the game and I'm guessing that you now think you have wonderful people skills. The truth is I'm more wary now than I have ever been.

Tonight we decorated the paeds area. It looks really good. We did good work!

04/22 Direct Link
Good Friday - I was planning to do so much today and it's been lost in the mundane. I slept late and understimated my research time for my essay. So, that's all I've done today. I'm still recovering from the last couple of weeks and getting home from work after 9pm last night. 13 hour days tend to make me tired these days and I don't seem to bounce as I once did. I got to bed tonight and realised that the religious significance of the day had completely escaped me. I got so caught up - shamefully - I forgot! 
04/23 Direct Link
You lied to me, and while I know it's a very human thing to do in the face of a threat, I'm devestated. The trouble is not in you lying, but in convincing me, so I believed the lie. How can I explain to you that from now on that will be in the back of my mind every time we speak? At least for the foreseeable future. The problem is that I can't. So, I sit quietly, nursing this wound and pretending all is okay. But it isn't okay, and I don't know if it ever will be again.
04/24 Direct Link
Last night I was involved in a battle between an oyster shell and a knife. Unfortunately, I lost. The result is a 2cm deep wound in the middle of my hand. I must have hit nerves because the pain went up to my neck and made me want to pass out. Thankfully a trip back to work confirmed that there was no debris left in the wound and I came home with painkillers and antibiotics for my trouble. Today it's bruised and sore and I can't move my fingers without considerable discomfort. Think I'll eat out in the future.
04/25 Direct Link
You're now 30! When did that happen? The years have flown! You're my baby. I still remember going into labour with you and now you're a dad with babes of your own. Life moves too quickly, and yet, as I look at you with your children I so admire the man you have become. Well done son! You have a beautiful family. You may not be famous, or rich, or a genius but I wouldn't swap who you are for the world. You are kind, honourable, generous, compassionate, understanding. You're a great dad and partner and I'm proud of you! 
04/26 Direct Link
It has been an awesome day! I'm so lucky to live in this beautiful country. We took a drive this morning about 1 hour north of where I live to a place called Mallala and watched motorbike racing. Within another hour we were down at the docks cruising down the river and looking for dolphins. We spent an idyllic 2 hours watching the sunshine glisten on the water, feeling a gentle breeze in our hair and finally being graced with the presence of a pod of dolphins. It doesn't get much better than that! Now, I'm happy returning to study!
04/27 Direct Link
Why is it that I seem to find time for the mundane and meaningless and yet struggle to fit in the really important things? For example, I can usually find time to catch up on facebook, but struggle to schedule time for prayer. Which of the two is most worthwhile? I guess it depends on your beliefs, but, for me, prayer wins hands down and yet I constantly fall short.

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."  Maria Robinson.

It's time to make a new ending!
04/28 Direct Link
I have spent all day promising myself that I would leave work on time and it's now 6.30pm and I'm just getting home over 2 hours later than planned. Now I'm tired, hungry and brain dead. I have an assignment due that is pure statistics in less than a week and I've hardly scratched the surface yet. I don't know how I'm going to manage it with the current pressures at work. The really irritating thing is that with just a little more forward planning and advanced notice all this could have been achieved with a minimum of stress! 
04/29 Direct Link
It would appear that I always underestimate myself. I spent half of last weekend literally throwing together an essay on the primary cause of drug addiction. I thought it was a pretty ordinary effort and reconciled myself to a pass. I consoled myself with the knowledge that this is only an elective and I don't have much time to spend on it. I received the mark for it tonight and summonsed all  my courage to open the file. The possibility of my first fail mark loomed before me.

The mark... 95% and glowing comments. I still don't know how!!!
04/30 Direct Link
The house has an unusually quiet feeling tonight and it's lovely. The family have all gone out and I am left as the sole occupant for the night. This is a very rare occasion these days and one I am savouring. I should go to bed, but the peace calls to me and I'm reluctant to succumb to sleep and miss even a moment of the tranquility. After an exceptionally turbulent and busy month this seems like a fitting ending to April and hopefully is an indication of a less dramatic May. Thank goodness for the much-needed moments of respite.