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BY Amanda

07/01 Direct Link
Tonight we watched Mr Popper's Penguins, drank frozen coke and ate popcorn. You looked so grown up! You're getting to be so big. It's nice to catch up and discuss school, friends and what you did for your birthday. All too soon, our conversation will change to boyfriends and I won't be cool to hang out with anymore. For now though, we have lots of fun. I quite like being an aunty, and I really like being your aunty.We really do have to do this more often. I need to make sure I have time free. You are important.
07/02 Direct Link
I've had a fabulous day!  We went to see the Horsemen from Snowy River. It's a live show with beautiful, majestic horses and their riders. There wasn't a person sitting as they galloped around the arena, the Australian Flags waving in the breeze. I am a migrant to this country that I now call home. I've lived here more years than in my native country and I'm proud to be an Aussie. It was an awe inspiring, emotional sight. The horses were just beautiful. They had amazing trust in their handler and are clearly adored by all.
07/03 Direct Link
After church, I spent the day cooking, and once again delighted in the novelty of domesticity. Cooking is one of the ways I can show love to my family and friends. As I prepare a meal I give of my heart. Last night I made quiche and then lemon/lime meringue pie. I've discovered fresh herbs and the quiche was awesome (if I do say so myself). Unfortunately, I haven't quite got the portion control quite right yet. So it will be quiche for a few days to come yet. Special friends, precious family, yummy good. A pretty good day!
07/04 Direct Link
I thought I'd lost you, but I haven't. You cannot begin to understand how important that is, and how pleased I am that I was wrong. You mean the world to me. They say if you really love something then you set it free. If it was truly yours it will return of it's own free will. If it does not return then it was never really yours. I set you free. It took a while, certainly more time than I found comfortable, but you returned. We've built bridges and solved some issues, or at least highlighted them. I'm happy.
07/05 Direct Link
Your sadness is almost tangible, and now you're also sick. I really do feel for you! You have the most amazing capacity to love and would have made such a wonderful mother. I know that somewhere in the eternities this will be corrected but for now your pathway is hard and I'm really sorry. You need to get through your days right now and so while my sympathy is understood, we laugh and joke and jolly you along. There is the occasional email where you let me know how sad you are, but mostly, you need business as usual. 
07/06 Direct Link
Our secretary is off sick today and I have been heartened by how incredibly helpful other people have been. It's quite clear to all that I'm under the pump and running around trying to band aid two jobs (three actually because the director is also off). In response to my quite exceptional workload (if I'm honest) people have rallied wonderfully. A brief, focussed phone call resulted in delegation of some urgent tasks. Others dropped by to check how I was and to offer help. Menial, but time consuming tasks were willingly picked up by senior staff. An unusual, heartening day!
07/07 Direct Link
Just today and tomorrow and then it is the weekend! That fills me with both joy and panic. Joy because of the welcome break, and panic because there is such an incredible amount of work that requires completion before the end of tomorrow night that it is staggering. And then, a third emotion raises it's hand for consideration - satisfaction. If I can achieve all that needs to be done (and it really does NEED to be done) and get through this week then I've achieved a considerable amount. Given the options, I'll go with satisfaction. It's much healthier!
07/08 Direct Link
Did I jinx myself yesterday? Should I have stayed quiet, mute and silently hoped for the best? There have been more challenging than comfortable moments today. A trip to the police station to support you while you made your statement, how my heart broke for you! I wanted to take all the pain and make it go away, just as I did when you were little, but I can't these days. The magic of childhood has vanished, stripping my ability to remove pain with hugs and lollies. Such is the price of adulthood. A price both mother and child pay.
07/09 Direct Link
Thank you! I badly needed a stress-free day. A pleasant trip into the city with a friend to visit an expo we both wanted to see. We laughed at the silliest of things and I needed to laugh. 

The thinly veiled "sell" under the guise of a free demonstration of a massage lasted all of 30 seconds, but it didn't matter. I prefer to pay for things like that. I don't especially like a bargain or something for nothing. I feel as if someone else is missing out at my expense. 
07/10 Direct Link
I had the very best of intentions today, but they came to a sudden and very decided halt when exhaustion set in. I should have been on my way to see my other son and his family - have some Madi time, but by 10.30am the only thing that I could think of was my bed. I've slept the entire day away. I've been up for about an hour, and am ready to go back to bed. Everything aches, even fingernails and toenails and my hair! I just need to crawl back into bed and succumb to sleep!
07/11 Direct Link
 I've managed to spend most of tonight studying, despite needing regular doses of panadol to get through my day. My first chapter is completed, and I think I'm really going to love studying about abnormal psychology. It is fascinating. I know that some might find that strange, but it's a bonus if you want to be a clinical psychologist - that and being really nosy. I'm going to have to try and cultivate that - it doesn't come naturally. I'm happy to preserve others privacy and passionate about confidentiality (I guess that's a good thing). It's how I'd like to be treated.
07/12 Direct Link
The only thing on the agenda today is work and study. It's time to return to a strict routine. My morning is filled with domestic chores before work, my evening with study, and the finishing touches to the morning's chores. I have dinner between 7.30 and 8.30, sitting in front of the telly watching MasterChef. There's a stark contrast between their gourmet food and my baked beans on toast tonight, but I do only have an hour. It's interesting how many chores you can fit in the ads. It's quite motivating really and saves me feeling deprived.
07/13 Direct Link

I can't remember the last time I was this run down. I just couldn't get up this morning. I've slept another entire morning away and would have slept longer if the phone hadn't rung. This afternoon I've almost casually perused my books. Study without urgency and the need to demand my brain work for hours without a break is quite refreshing. It won't last but it's novelty is liberating. I've also managed to spend the afternoon preparing dinner. Not that mashed potato and tuna mornay is fancy - but it's tasty and more than I usually have time to prepare.

07/14 Direct Link

We got our group certificates today and I did my tax return tonight. So, please excuse me while I rant a little. I do not understand how a payroll office can be quite as incompetent as ours is. There is no "service" in Shared Services, believe me! Their latest stuff up has been to miscalculate the amount I needed to pay for my HECS debt. I now have a $3,000 debt to pay this year and will need to put away a significant amount of my fortnightly pay from hereon in to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

07/15 Direct Link
The impact of yesterdays revelation has left me feeling slightly panicked. For someone on a very limited income, trying to mesh together the demands of a full time job, home commitments and part time university study (together with compulsory interstate trips) the burden seemed heavy enough. I will now have to significantly reassess my budget and I'm not honestly sure at this point how it's all going to work out. Although it always does. I do find myself questioning once again whether it really is all worth it. Then I remind myself why I'm doing it and realise it is.
07/16 Direct Link
I needed time out again today. I seem to need a lot more time out these days than I used to. We spent part of the afternoon browsing around a chocolate factory, purchased some roses and then returned to my friends house to plant them. My role was exterior advisor, hers was more hands on. I also used her sewing machine to make myself a snuggly.  I'm really proud of the end result, although the clean up involved vacuuming walls, curtains and the floor because the material sheds so badly. But it is lovely and snuggly!
07/17 Direct Link
I was early for church today. That is a very unusual occurrence and I instantly forgave our bishop for his look of surprise to see me sitting on the stand when he arrived. It is amazing how much more smoothly things go when I'm just a few minutes early. I have time to make sure I understand the timing of the hymns, which helped today as I had inadervently chosen a 9/8 time (I won't do that again in a hurry). Plus a few moments of quiet contemplation. Unfortunately, I know all too well, it won't last.
07/18 Direct Link
I have been asked to put together a training programme on stress management for our medical staff. It's ironic as they have told me I can't have study leave anymore because my study doesn't apply to my work. But, as I'm studying psychology anyway - would I mind just putting this together... I have said yes, simply because I care about the people that I work with and think it will help. It will also be good training for later when I want to do it professionally. So, I've spent a couple of days really having some fun with power point!
07/19 Direct Link
My first presentation today was to the huge crowd of 3 medical officers. Apparently sick leave reduced our group to smaller than normal. As it turned out, 3 was the perfect number this time around. We were able to speak much more intimately than if there had been a large group and even though we had planned an hour, I needed to excuse myself after 90 minutes. But, we could have chatted for much longer. Interestingly, the same issues abound no matter what your profession. Feelings of being overwhelmed and not making a difference. Plus the pressure of being understaffed.
07/20 Direct Link
I'm starting to feel sick again. Noooooooooo - not again!!! The all too familiar hacking cough has returned accompanied by the feeling that there is an incinerator hidden somewhere in my chest. I'm trying to ignore it and tell myself that if I do it will just go away, but it appears to be persistent, and growing in intensity as the day goes on. Tomorrow is another staff presentation and I really don't want to miss it. So, it's back to the cough mixture, the increase in fluids, (forget the additional rest, who has time!) and trying to avoid cold air.
07/21 Direct Link
I managed not to cough for a whole 15 minutes during the presentation today. I know these guys well, and one cough from me and they are mentally assessing the efficacy of certain tests, running through a range of differential diagnoses and the most appropriate treatments. It's really nice to know that they care. I've had suggestions to take to my GP of which antibiotics work better than others, and well wishes and concerns. When all is said and done, they're a pretty special bunch, which is why I wanted to do the presentations. Which incidentally were very effective.
07/22 Direct Link
I give in. As much as I'd like to pretend I'm not sick, not being able to get out of bed because you are so exhausted, is a pretty good indication that you are sick. I've slept another day away, in between coughing fits that is. The wheeze is strangely melodic and would be quite interesting if it wasn't accompanied with struggling for breath. I had thought that just maybe, I might at least study today and be a little productive, but my eyes won't stay open long enough or focus for long enough to be able to be effective.
07/23 Direct Link
Today has gone by in a blur. On the positive side, my desire for a like a couple of pyjama days is being fulfilled. Daytime television is all that my brain seems able to absorb and yet I cannot believe that anyone that wasn't half-dead could find anything remotely stimulating about it. It is such utter and complete rubbish. I'm glad I made my snuggly because it's really come in handy. There is something very comforting about snuggling up in something soft, and warm and furry. As I'm freezing while everyone else is comfortable it's been appreciated by all.
07/24 Direct Link

I failed my first assignment. First one ever, that has been lower than a credit. In my defense, there were so many components to this assignment, and such tight time frames for it's completion that I'm surprised I managed to put anything on paper. The bummer is that if I'd understood the instructions I would have passed quite easily. Anyway - the good news is that it's only 1 of 4 components and I can make it up on the other 3. It's only a minor and I just need an overall pass.But it's been a sobering wake up call. 

07/25 Direct Link

I’ve spent today trying to coax my brain into absorbing sociological theory and trying to focus my eyes. I've given up on day time television. It's too mundane, even if you are sick. That stuff will truly rot your brain! However, I can't say that sociological theories are much more stimulating to be honest. The cynicism of Marx, and his verbose way of explaining things is seriously doing my head in. Bourdieu on the other hand at least recognizes that we are a product of our experiences and not everyone is out for domination and what he can get.

07/26 Direct Link
I gave in and saw a GP today. I didn't really feel well enough to go back to work, so I needed a sick certificate anyway. He was a really nice man, who was a little concerned at my pronounced and rhythmic wheeze, it's not even melodic anymore, and has prescribed a myriad of drugs including steroids and antibiotics to combat yet another chest infection. I am not to think of returning to work before Friday. My boss tried to sound brave when I told her, but I could hear the contingency plans formulating in her head as we spoke.
07/27 Direct Link

While you can't always guarantee a positive outcome if you do the right thing, you can guarantee the absence of one if you don't. For example, I didn't realise that, contrary to the film version, most of the lifeboats on the Titanic weren't filled because people thought it was a drill. Mothers refused to take their children into the cold because it was uncomfortable. By the time they were prepared to do the right thing, it was too late. Seems there are some life lessons there. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing and hope for the best.

07/28 Direct Link

I said goodbye to an old friend today. He had the amazing ability to find humour in every situation and it was infectious. One of the last times we met was when he brought his wife to the oncology unit where I was working. In an attempt to lighten the moment, he unfortunately found a stethescope and much to my embarrassment, pranced around the unit trying to listen to my heartbeat. He was incorrigible, but how can you get mad at someone whose wife is dying? I couldn't. His memory brings a smile to my lips. Rest in peace Ted.

07/29 Direct Link
Once again I have been the recipient of incredible kindness. I am very blessed. My chest infection and breathing have become worse and I'm off to the hospital to get assessed. The doctor is a kindly man, and although I've never met him before his concern for my welfare is touching. His fatherly pat on my arm, the letter for triage explaining my condition and his follow up phone call to tell them I am on my way are all done with a very clear care and concern. I hear so much about selfishness, but today the opposite is evident.
07/30 Direct Link
An overnight stay with concerned friends making sure I'm okay is reassuring. Reassurance is important when you can't breathe and you're in pain! The infection, which is in the lining of my chestwall, is causing sharp muscle spasms that bring tears to my eyes. I try hard to explain through gasps of breath, that I'm not worried, just in pain, and it takes what little breath I have away. The reassuring thing is that they would be this kind even if they didn't know me. I work with pretty amazing people! I wish more people could see what I do.
07/31 Direct Link
They tell me it's a beautiful day outside. As I've been in bed for days and can't move without a coughing fit, much less go outside I'm starting to crave fresh air and sunshine. Why is it that you always want what you can't have? Normally I wouldn't even think twice about it, I'd just get on with life. Now that I can't go outside, I crave it. Humans are funny creatures! I've been blessed with a steady string of visitors and thankfully, the monotmony hasn't been overwhelming at all. Alas, I don't do "rest and quiet" very well.