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BY Amanda

05/01 Direct Link
I'm determined to keep up to date this month. It is time for routine and order. The truth is that there is so much going on this month that if I don't have routine and order it will all fall in a dismal mess. We have a major function I'm organizing and there are lots of last minute items that need to be addressed. I have 2 assignments due this month and preparation for exams. So,with all of that, I'd better get organized or there will be problems. But today, today is a day to just relax in preparation.
05/02 Direct Link
My boss has this knack of providing me with a couple of weeks work in just a few sentences, additional to a full workload. She also has the ability to throw my schedule out the wind with a few chosen words. Take yesterday for example. I was calm and relaxed and then I made the mistake of checking my emails. "Can you please organise morning tea for Wednesday morning?" the email said. Not really so daunting, except the morning tea is for 100 people including the mayor and the minister for health, With 2 days notice, there goes my day again...
05/03 Direct Link
I don't often get to see the artistic side to my personality. Life is generally taken up with concrete, logical things. And so today, it was quite nice to view our handiwork. We've just finished decorating our paediatric area and it really looks great. Admittedly we're just putting pre-made wall art, but it looks awesome! I've stopped allowing myself to wonder how long things will last, this is a high volume, high traffic area. But, for now it all looks pretty impressive. In fact, it's a shame we have to let children in to mess it up really. lol.
05/04 Direct Link
The opening was today and apart from the fact that my feet are now killing me (court shoes and I are never good friends) it has all gone quite smoothly. The looks on the faces of the children who won prizes in the drawing competition were precious. The mayor did a wonderful job with them, the children really warmed to him. Morning tea was delicious, if a little late and I only got flustered once. Pretty good really. It's a shame medical staff orientation had to be the same day. Just one lot of chaos would have been more comfortable.
05/05 Direct Link
I ran around so much yesterday, both figuratively and literally, that I went home and just "sat" last night. Today, despite a reasonable sleep, I'm still exhausted. The left over work load from the last few weeks is pretty overwhelming and I despair at ever managing to catch up, but I'm sure I will in the end. As usually  happens when it's all getting a bit challenging, I also despair at managing to find time to study, and actually take anything in. Looking at a book and then not being able to recall anything is not productive study time!
05/06 Direct Link
It is Friday again! I'm very, very ready for a weekend.Even though I work just as hard, if not harder on the weekend, there is something liberating about knowing that I'm making the choices and I don't have to go into the office. That will probably change with exam prep quickly coming up, but for now there is still novelty attached to the weekends. I can choose to sleep a little later and then work a little later in the evening, and I can even indulge in an afternoon nap on Sundays! Tomorrow's freedom gives me strength for today. 
05/07 Direct Link
Our final assignment for research methodology and statistics is due tomorrow and we had a study group session today. Sometimes I think I'm such a fraud. I feel so overwhelmed by all that I'm supposed to know. I study with other students who seem younger, smarter and much more switched on than I am and feel hopelessly inadequate. It's not all bad, it's a motivating factor for me because I make sure that I work very hard to get the marks I need, and I do get them. But today, once again,  I feel the familiar feelings of panic.
05/08 Direct Link
This has been a day I will not forget soon. Apart from a couple of hours at church I've worked solidly on my assignment. It is complex, involving factorial analysis, mixed designs ANOVA and multiple regression. With the stats outputs its an impressive 41 pages long. A few short sentences can be the result of hours of work. My mind (and body) are protesting at the very long hours at my computer, and they will have to simply protest a little longer! It's now 3am and I've just hit the send button. Exhaustion is setting in and sleep beckons seductively.
05/09 Direct Link
Predictably, I arrived at work late. I am bleary eyed and effectively brain dead. I should have stayed home and just slept, but there are things that cannot be left (as usual). I'll band aid and do what I can and then leave things until I can concentrate and won't make any mistakes.

I've just checked my submitted assignment and I've lost the formatting somewhere in the transmission. I'm so cross, so tired, so upset. My lecturer has said not to worry. I'm not sure if that means I'd lose more marks for a late submission but I'm past caring!
05/10 Direct Link
I am still tired - the older I get the less resilient I seem to be - but I trust myself to do tasks I would not have attempted yesterday. I can start to see the end of semester looming and that is both good and bad news. There is still so much to do that it's frightening, but there is also the hope of a week off when I become like the rest of the world and only have to juggle home and work. And so, I take a deep breath and commence the final assignment for my other subject.
05/11 Direct Link
My essay is on the efficacy of the current drug prevention and treatment policies in Australia. There appears to be a large and very vocal group both in Australia and internationally who advocate for either the legalization of drug use or decriminalization (surprisingly they are not the same thing). They argue that the current policies don't prevent substance abuse. Because illegal drugs are a more lucrative market (there is no regulation on pricing) they argue that there is more of an incentive to sell them. They also argue that because there are no controls purity and potency cannot be controlled.
05/12 Direct Link
Advocates for decriminalization and legalization of currently illicit drugs also argue that substance abuse is an amoral issue. That means that it isn't right or wrong, there is no morality attached to it. Some argue that the government should have no control over drug use, especially regarding law enforcement. So, no penalty for using. Others argue that drugs should be taxed as alcohol and tobacco are currently taxed, with the revenue going towards rehabilitation and government coffers. While others argue that currently elicit drugs should be available on prescription, with a safe place provided for use and mandatory counselling/rehab.
05/13 Direct Link
Ok, so I've thought long and hard about this debate on the drug policy and this is my take on it. First of all, I can't see how it can possibly be an amoral issue. Substance abuse kills people and destroys the lives of the abuser and those around them. How can you possibly say that isn't right or wrong? It is clearly wrong! Try telling a child who is neglected, an innocent bystander who is robbed, or a parent identifying the body of their child that it isn't right or wrong! What a load of complete unmitigated rubbish!
05/14 Direct Link
While I'm on my soap box. The second suggestion is that law enforcement should be removed from the equation. So, firstly we're supposed to send the message that it's not wrong, secondly we're supposed to remove all penalties. What kind of message does that send? What about the next generation? When did society get so complacent that we allow our standards to continually be eroded and then just for fun, we lower them again? What kind of legacy do we want to leave? This "anything goes" mentality is just plain stupid! It's irresponsible, it's illogical and it's just plain dangerous!
05/15 Direct Link
Ok, last rant on this subject. The last suggestion is that drugs should be legalized and taxed. So, it's not enough that we send mixed messages about tobacco and alcohol. We say they are dangerous, they can cause you to act out of character, cause poverty, abuse and in some cases death, but that's ok because even though we don't want you to use them we're going to make a profit from you using them. Now, the suggestion is that we send the same message with heroin and cocaine and speed. I'd have been embarassed to even write the proposal!!!
05/16 Direct Link
So, obviously I'm anti drugs. I'm opposed to their use, their sale, to any suggestion that they are ok under any circumstances. While I'm telling the world (or the very few in the world that might actually read this) what I think, I should also mention that I'm boring enough to think you should stay away from anything that might hurt you or those around you. I also think you should take responsibility for your actions and the consequences of those actions. I'm not saying that compassion and mercy shouldn't have a place, but leniency doesn't always help.
05/17 Direct Link
Well, my assignment is finished and submitted. I doubt it will be popular. I suspect that my lecturer and I have very opposing points of view. Either way, I've said what I really think and what I really feel. I think I've put together a good argument and I'll wear the consequences if my lecturer doesn't agree. That is the benefit of sitting on a HD in an elective. You occasionally get the freedom to take the risk of being unpopular. It's been quite liberating actually. The bonus of 3 assignments and no exam is also quite a euphoric feeling!
05/18 Direct Link
It's time to turn my attention again to statistics. I'm not nerdy enough to actually say "yay - statistics!!!", but I can't afford to find it a complete bore because if I do I won't do well. This subject is not only a core subject for my course, it's a key core subject. That means that good marks on this subject count for a whole lot more than most other subjects. So, it's time to find something to love about stats. I think I've managed it. For me, it is the sense of accomplishment when it all finally adds up!!! 
05/19 Direct Link
I looked at my diary today and it was a deceptive blank page. No appointments doesn't actually equal a quiet day, it just means no one is actually scheduled to come and see me. It has been a particularly productive day as I've managed to clear quite a lot of paperwork. The testament to this is that I can actually see my desk again. It's taken literally weeks to feel like I have my office back and I'm not stepping around toys, over boxes or organizing yet another pile of papers. My inbox is also finally a respectable height.
05/20 Direct Link
It's Friday again, and it's been an awesome day! I was set to follow my normal routine of work in the morning and study in the afternoon/evening, when I received a phone call from an old friend. She had been offered some free tickets to see Cirque de Sole and invited me as her guest. It took just a moment's hesitation to way up the demands of study vs a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and commonsense prevailed. The show was awesome! I couldn't help but admire the obviously consuming passion for perfection that shows in their every move.
05/21 Direct Link
I am still blown away by the show yesterday. The performers were in body suits that showed every rippling muscle. Everything about their lifestyle shows as their costume leaves almost nothing to the imagination. Indiscretions or lack of discipline would very quickly reveal themselves. I have been contemplating what a very different world this would be if everyone were to be able to do something they were passionate about and conversely, everyone were passionate about something that they did. Because such a striving for excellence and such dedication is so unusual it is really inspiring. At least I am inspired.
05/22 Direct Link
I think each of us has a reason to be here. The key to happiness is to find out what that is and then to fulfill it. For me, it is being a psychologist. I am quite sure that is what I am meant to do. It is something that I hope to do for the rest of my life. I've seen the change that can occur in people's lives because of it. The privilege of taking a journey with someone and giving them the skills to make their life better is something I reverence. It's a precious gift.
05/23 Direct Link
It is the knowledge that I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing that gives me strength. It helps me through the toughest of times. The government is cutting back on how many visits they will fund for visits to a psychologist. They will be "encouraging" people to visit government counsellors (that means that if you can't afford to pay privately, you have no choice). As I grapple with long hours, many years of study and a hefty HECS debt it's a little disconcerting to know that my career may not be as planned.
05/24 Direct Link

Life seems to be flying past in a blur. I blink; Tuesday is here again, another blink; a weekend has been and gone. Another blink; another semester is almost over. In stark contrast, when I was a child, days seemed to never end. As a young woman in love I waited not-so-patiently as the moments dragged until the next date. Seconds now take on the previous proportions of minutes, days now feel like minutes and years  more like weeks. It is an odd phemonenon that become more acute each year.

05/25 Direct Link
My son is an amazing man and I'm honoured to be associated with him. He works so hard to have a good relationship with his children. Unfortunately, he isn't able to live with them, but he spends every available minute trying to make their lives better. He rings them each night, has dinner with them on Wednesdays and has them stay over from Friday to Sunday night. He is an awesome father. The pain that he feels at not being able to provide them with a stable home life with mum and dad together is palpable. He's an inspiration.
05/26 Direct Link
Today has been a challenging day. My hand hasn't healed as well as we'd hoped and my GP is referring me to a specialist. We think perhaps there is some nerve and tendon damage - all I know is that it hurts. We also discovered that I have Baker's cysts behind both knees (I wondered why I felt so stiff) which are not only annoying and painful at the moment but could be considerably more so if they rupture. My breathing hasn't been good since my last bout of bronchitis and a lung specialist is recommended. Thank goodness for chocolate!!!
05/27 Direct Link
There is a quiet confidence that all will be well with exams. It may not last, but for today, I am grateful for it's company. I don't know enough, that's undisputable. Were I to sit the exam today, I would fail spectacularly. That isn't misplaced humility it's fact. I never quite manage to finish course work in time to do a proper review. But, I have two more weeks and I am confident that I'll do ok after that time. What I am learning is making sense. My study plan is solid and sensible. I think I can do this!
05/28 Direct Link
Not much exists in my world right now except for study. But today I made a rare exception. My sister's in-law's, whom I love and respect very much, had their 50th wedding anniversary. It is testament to how much I love them that I actually went to the party. I really, really dislike parties. I'm not shy but I am introverted and I don't cope well with large crowds of people. But tonight was their night. The rest of the family had a ball, kids played together, cousins met for the first time in months, babies were cooed over.
05/29 Direct Link
An interesting day. The power decided to go out in the middle of a hymn. One minute we had lights and organ, the next, I was urging a congregation on to sing accapella. The organist and I were remarkably composed under the circumstances.

The men went to the zoo today (the men being my 3yo and 8yo grandsons and their dad). The house was wonderfully quiet when I got home and I treated myself to one of my favourite Sunday pastimes. Snuggling under the blankets and blissfully snoozing. It's such a tonic and I felt all the better for it.
05/30 Direct Link
I had my appointment with the plastic surgeon this morning. It looks as if I've nicked a tendon. The pain is scar tissue that is tearing with use. We have decided that exploratory surgery has more risk factors attached than the condition warrants right now, so, I am to use my hand as much as I can (with the caveat that I protect my palm and don't cause more scar tissue) and review in 3 weeks. I'm happy with the watch and wait approach. It means I can concentrate on other things without distraction. That is a very good thing!
05/31 Direct Link
As another month draws to a close I am reminded again of all I'm blessed with. I spent precious time with a friend tonight. We seem to walk parallel paths and were offered each other encouragement and support. In truth, I don't know what I would do without him. His truly unconditional love and acceptance for me, is something very rare that I reverence and treasure. I will always be the president of his fan club, and he mine. We leave our visits renewed, strengthened and better people. That is the sign of a true friend!