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Thursday, January 31, 2008

jelly legs

I thought it was a brilliant idea... since I had to miss my usual Thursday evening aqua class due to work, I would attend a morning pump class and (ingeniously) fit in the weekly exercise.

With my tiny 1kg weights I pumped my way through my maiden class, in time with the music, almost on target with technique. Near the end I decided 1 kg was just too easy and I should try 2.5 kg for the last hard track. I made it through most of the song until. I. could. do. no. more and downed those 5 kilograms from sheer exhaustion. At the end of the class I managed to almost-not-stumble across the room to return my equipment. In the supermarket car park I staggered but did not fall under the weight of 3kg of yoghurt and our usual mammoth chocolate supplies. At the car I fell inside the door, a shaking, blubbery mess.

And now I'm expected to work all afternoon? On my feet?

Just whose brilliant idea was that again?!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

new year, new computer, new cecily

I did it!

I deleted every last skerrick of information off my hard drive and rebuilt my computer... well I inserted multiple CDs in the CD drive and imported all the information onto my hard drive, which hardly seems like rebuilding it, but there you go, apparently it is.

This job has been on my to-do list for over a year. My little-bit-of-a-computer-geek brother was going to visit last March and I anticipated enlisting his services for the building work. Alas, no visit eventuated and the task remained undone. In the end I got my pound of flesh from him though, with his most excellent instructions passed down the phone line over the course of an hour this afternoon.

And so my computer is transformed. Woohoo. (I still have a few more programs to download, but we're nearly there)

This builds on top of a host of other tasks I put off throughout 2007 but have already achieved in 2008:
  • practice the violin most days
  • reflect and journal most days (I've journalled more this month than the whole second half of last year!)
  • visit a friend and mend a relationship
  • write letters to multiple friends in numerous places
  • finish a few half read books
As I said, new year, new Cecily. Now I just need to keep it up.

I would also like to achieve a number of other things:
  • complete a needlework project or two (let's not discuss how many half stitched canvases litter my home)
  • sort photos and choose the best from each country I have visited to enlarge and hang along our hall
  • start making a few scrap books (Cecily's own version, not the scrap booking type that are really popular at present) of all the gathered tickets, programs, maps and other general paraphernalia I religiously collected in my travels
  • finish a few more half read books
That should keep me going for the next twelve eleven months!

Thanks Luke for all your help... you are a champion geek. I'm proud to know you!... Hey I'm proud to be your sister!

(Shameless plug because one good turn deserves another) Luke is trying to build a photography business, so if you're on the lookout for a wedding photographer (or any other kind of portrait photographer) and you live near Newcastle, check out his website... he might be able to tell your story!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

'fess up you computer geeks

Who writes this stuff?

Roger Federer has no sooner been knocked out of the Australian Open (I know... outrageous) than the result is included on his wikipedia record right down to the scoreboard! Heath Ledger was barely dead and all the sketchy details were written into his wikipedia entry.

I know... I'm googling them, so I have no right to point the finger at such computer geekiness (I only wanted to know who Federer's pretty girlfriend is), but really... have these people no lives but they must take on the responsibility of editing wikipedia pages the moment anything noteworthy (or not) happens?

To rescue myself from computer geek status I must inform you that I spent the last three days (at various times) burning all my files onto CD (twice) in order to ensure a sturdy system of backups. Only after I had completed all this did my truly nerdy brother (seriously, he, like, works with computers all day, every day) start telling me about external hard drives... you mean I could have saved those hours of endless wrangling with a broken burner and dud CDs by just plugging in a hard drive and copying everything over in an instant? You didn't think it was worth telling me about this before all that wasted time? Time is a resource of great value - it would have been worth the investment.

Grrrr

So now I'm ready to delete my entire hard drive and rebuild my computer. Technically ready. Mentally the thought of this scares me silly, so I may well fill my hard drive with another year of useless information before I do the deed. Except my computer is getting slower and slower and slower so something must be done.

Anyway, I've decided to stop moaning about nursing since I've discovered that being an IT consultant would be the most tedious occupation in the world. With my geeky brother's most excellent tutelage I will rebuild my computer myself, but once I've proven I can do it... next time it will be off to the nearest computer shop. Why put myself through this? I'm no computer geek and it just might be worth paying someone else to do this stuff.

But I'll probably keep googling anyone who dies or otherwise piques my interest.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

chrysalis

Everything is shifting.

My head, my life. Everything.

And it is good, because 2007 (possibly longer) was one long slide into a ditch of mediocrity, self indulgence and over commitment. There was no reflection. Personal growth was nonexistent.

But now I feel renewed, as if touched by God.

Thus the blogging silence! I cannot think what to write, for how does one reduce the transformation of a soul into mere words on a screen?

A moment this evening captured one element of this internal shift. Jo Tsonga defeated Rafael Nadal in the tennis. As the TV station wrapped up their coverage they offered a selection of slow-mo clips. They were incredible. Sprays of sweat hurtled into space; green fibres rubbed off a ball and dreamily drifted across the surface of the court; a tennis ball collided with the tape, causing the sun to slowly cascade down each thread of the net like water down a fountain - beautiful moments lost to us in the hurly burly of a competitive match. But even if we didn't see them, they were there, unfurling their beauty despite their insignificance in the grander scheme of a grand slam semi-final.

And that's how it is with me. I'm trying to slow down, and as I do so I'm seeing those things that usually pass unnoticed in the grander scheme of things. My outlook is radically altered and no part of my life remains untouched.

Everything is shifting, and I like it.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

how sweet it is...

... to be eating home grown corn!



(A couple of cobs the sheep didn't get)

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

is this a sign?

Maybe it's because I grew up in churches where God 'spoke' through everything and everyone, or perhaps I have a shadowy superstitious streak, or it could be that I just like a bit of a laugh... whatever the reason, I've developed the habit of saying "it's a sign!" when circumstances seem particularly stacked for (or against) a certain decision. But mostly I say it as a joke.

Not that I don't believe God is interested in my life, and certainly my experience is that if I take time to tune in to his voice, she speaks through the wind and the sun and the birds and the rain. But after years of unsuccessful searching for flashing neon signs in the sky every time I have a decision to make, I've realised that mostly God lets me make up my own mind about what I will or will not do. Occasionally I have a strong sense I should do this or that but most of the time I get on with making the best decision based on the available information and then I ask God to walk with me through the choice or to help me survive the ensuing consequences. God is very present in my life, but he is no voodoo doll responding on demand.

That being said, I've started wondering if God is trying to speak to me about the new credit card I'm applying for!

Now it's OK... I'm not planning on running up massive amounts of debt in the midst of a credit crisis, but one of my friends recommended her institution's credit card because their interest rate was a wapping 8% lower than that of my current credit card. I thought it was worth looking into so when I had 15 minutes to spare a couple of weeks ago I ducked in and filled out the forms.

Apparently the government in its wisdom recently decided that it was not sufficient for me to show my 100 points of ID and payslip in order to receive instant credit. Now I must photocopy each item, have the copy certified by a JP and then present it to the financial institution. I dutifully photocopied everything, had it certified and handed it over to complete my application last week. Except that I miscalculated the ID points and only supplied 90. I needed to make another trip to the JP and (feeling very embarrassed) I wondered if there was any point bothering - I mostly pay off the account each month anyway so what's the point of a lower interest rate?

Over the course of the week I decided it wasn't really too much trouble to get one more copy certified, so today I trudged back to the library and dragged the JP from her very important work in order to certify my final measly copy. I represented every single signed form at the financial institution and all seemed well.

Until half way through my pleasant stroll home my mobile rang... "Ah, Cecily, we haven't quite finished the paper work. You haven't signed the application (because you were in such a rush the day you first applied - 15 minutes wasn't really long enough after all). We can't process it until you come back and sign on the dotted line."

Again I am left wondering if this is worth all the effort! Four trips to their office just to apply for a card I don't really need and merely liked the interest rate of?! And the colour and shape of the card is nice too, but I wasn't going to mention that... seems a bit trite and all.

Sigh. "Next week" I said, "I'll be back next week."

And, ah, God... are you saying something here? Is this a sign? Should I be listening?!

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Monday, January 14, 2008

two years today



Two years of wedded bliss.

Well truthfully, it hasn't all been wedded bliss, but it surely has been close.

(Now is not the time to tell me we are but babies in the world of marital conjugation and just wait to see how jaded we feel in ten years time. Living wedged between the jaded feelings of our respective parents provided insights galore into possible ways to avoid this state of being. Whatever it takes)

So, two years. What can I say? There are ups and downs, bumpy patches, delights, treasured moments.

For me, I'm learning to relax and capture those treasured moments. You know, blink and you miss them, and if you were worrying about what to cook for tea, or the gunge in the bathroom... well, the moment is gone and it wasn't even a moment. It was just a tick of the clock. So I'm sitting in the marriage and relishing the good things. And thinking about how I contribute to the not so good things. And reaching towards solutions that might help the not so good things become... well... good things. (Call me idealistic)

And Frank? Well, he still doesn't hang the towels straight, or get every speck of food off the dishes but... who gives a heck?! He's the kindest most patient man on earth.

We're happy. Two good years. The rest is inconsequential. (For today, while the sun is shining and the rosebud is blooming... wink)

Update: The coolest thing is that when I popped into town this morning, I visited the cafe operated by the people who hosted our wedding. While sipping my chai I saw my beautician who did my fingernails for the day, and she was talking to the girl who did the flowers! I love living in a small city.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

meme on me me

Thankyou for all your kind, kind comments. I've slept well through two nights since that hideous night but I still think about it all quite a bit. I don't think I'm being too harsh on myself - it's a nursing tendency to minimise the trauma of what we experience because, well, we're nurses. That is what we do. We should be fine with that. We know what comes with the territory. Thus I expected to go home and sleep reasonably OK and go back to work the next night. Since that didn't happen I am taking time to reflect, journal and cry and acknowledge the trauma and sadness. I'd love to tell you more, but both are coroner's cases and patient confidentiality also limits me. Suffice to say that I don't think anything we could have done would have changed the outcome in either case.

To lift the mood, or hide the pain in triteness, here's a meme Robyn tagged me for.

1.WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
My mother's father. His name was Cecil.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Yesterday. (See previous post!) I cry a lot, especially when I'm tired. I'm nearly always tired. Not big weeps all the time of course, just lots of watery eyes, little sniffs...

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
I love my handwriting. It stems from a heated competitiveness with another girl in Year 8 as we attempted to out-hand-write each other. Ridiculous I know, but it paid off in the end!

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Wallaby and Sundried Tomato Salami from my favourite butcher down the road.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Next question.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Only on my good days. I'd steer clear of me on my bad days.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT?
I always remember someone saying 'sarcasm is the lowest form of wit'. That being said, I use it more than I would like to but not in huge amounts.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
No. But I'd love to parachute or paraglide. Accompanied of course.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Weetbix

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
No. But I feel guilty when I don't and I promise myself that if I ever have children I will start undoing the laces then! I also have a friend with a well trained child who undoes her laces, so I try hard to remember to untie them at her place.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Sometimes.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Coffee or anything with berries or peppermint. Thank goodness for two scoops, that's all I can say!

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Their wedding ring. Nah... probably their face but I'm pretty slick with getting a glance at the wedding finger. No idea where that tendency comes from!

15. RED OR PINK?
Well, it depends what shade of red or pink you know... probably a nice dusky pink, although I wear both.

16. WHAT IS THE THING THAT YOU LIKE LEAST ABOUT YOURSELF?
My teeth, my skin, my too-often-nasty tongue, my... oh, I'll stop there.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
After travelling the world and moving every two years as I child there is no way I could choose one person I miss most... I miss lots and lots of people.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Hahaha... right now I'm sitting in a pretty green and pink flowered cotton camisole because I'm obsessed with blogging and am doing this before I even think about getting dressed.

20. HAVE YOU EVER RE-GIFTED?
I can't remember specifically doing it, though I have passed them on to the opshop. In fact I'm about to pass a few things on this year. (Nothing you gave me Mum, don't worry!)

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Birds tweeting happily in the cool morning air and people driving past to work.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Right now, Desert Sand... I resorted to this list! Otherwise I would have just said, I don't know, yellow cos it's cheerful?!

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Freshly mown grass and the smell of the earth as it just starts to rain. Haven't smelt either for ages, since we've had no rain and the sheep eat all the grass!

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
A random lady who just rang the wrong number 10 minutes ago.

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Yes. Of course. Even if I didn't think she was reading I'd still say I like her! I like her a lot. :-)

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Tennis. Diving.

27. HAIR COLOR?
Dark Brown, with an ever increasing sprinkle of grey.

28. EYE COLOR ?
Blue as the blue sky.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
No. But I have three pairs of glasses.

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Totally mood driven. Right now it's fresh fruit and vegetables because it's hot, but catch me on another day and it might be Thai, Moroccan, Indian, Italian...

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS ?
Happy endings. I don't even bother watching the scary movies... I just get up and walk away anyway. Besides, aren't movies all about escaping reality? Happy endings do it for me every time.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Downfall. A war movie with a moderately happy ending... Frank's choice OK! We hired five movies (totally over watching them all by the end of it) and I chose three, Frank chose two. We liked all of them.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
I'm not wearing a shirt. (Don't worry, I am clothed! See above.)

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Spring? Can I say that? And autumn? I get totally tired of each season by the end of it and am very glad to see the new one as it rolls in.

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs in public. Unless it's a child.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Tiramisu... no, no... raspberries with vanilla icecream... no, no... self saucing chocolate pudding... um, no... fruitsalad... hang on a minute... baked lemon cheesecake... no, maybe it's... I think I just like dessert!

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
The Secret Message of Jesus, by Brian McLaren, The Song and the Truth by Helga Ruebsamen, Sex God by Rob Bell, The Arcanum by Janet Gleeson

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Don't have a mouse pad, just use the little thing on my laptop

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
Bones (creepy)

42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Nature sounds... bubbling streams, nice birdsong, waves

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Beatles.

44. WHAT IS THE FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Technically England is about as far away as you can get from Australia isn't it? But in terms of feeling a long way from home, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan because it was so hard to get there. I felt completely cut off from everything.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I'm so multitalented I couldn't possibly choose...

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Dandenong, Victoria

OK, if you made it to the end of that consider yourself tagged!

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

oh what a night

Disclaimer: Please stop reading now if you don't deal well with death or have lost a loved one recently. There is probably another blog more suited to your needs right now and I urge you to visit them rather than linger here.

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Call me good or (philosophical debates aside) call it luck, but in my twelve years as a nurse I've never had a patient die unexpectedly while under my care. Of course various patients have died along the way, but their deaths were relatively peaceful and anticipated and I was able to offer comfort and dignity in their last moments. I find these ministrations rewarding and meaningful and I don't shy away from them. For me it is an honour to be there in a person's final hours.

Still, it came as something of a shock to find a patient obviously dead at 4am last night. I knew the moment I stepped behind the curtain, but as she was still listed for resuscitation I had to respond to the emergency and call a code. She'd been unwell for some time and we could not revive her. As we pulled up the sheet and recorded the time of death our heads were spinning. Night shifts run on skeleton staff so there was no chance to sit with the patient and pay our respects. It was immediately on to the tasks left undone during the emergency.

At 5am I helped turn a patient and was not happy with her condition. She had deteriorated significantly during the course of the night so I asked the doctor to come and review her. At 6:15am we called another code. After 15 minutes this patient too was declared deceased, in the bed right next to the first patient. Again there was no time to contemplate, reflect, or honour the long, full life of this patient. We had little choice but to madly try to complete our duties before the morning staff arrived.

The whole episode seemed quite surreal. Two patients in one night, right next to each other? Unheard of, at least in this small place. Then there was the automatic defibrillator that kept telling us in a mechanical voice to stop CPR while it analysed a heart rhythm we knew did not exist. As I shut the lid to silence it, the strident voice called out 'open lid to continue CPR' and we couldn't help but laugh wryly at the incongruity of the situation. Then there was the nurse on another ward, who could not have failed to hear the code called over the hospital PA, but still kept phoning and asking for assistance with a relatively minor problem they had. Things became more absurd when other patients, oblivious to the mayhem, buzzed for blankets, bed pans, clean sheets, panadol. I stared at them dazedly - blankets, bedpans, clean sheets and panadol in the midst of pandemonium as we attempted to cheat death? I dished out requests quickly and quietly, asking for patience as we sought to recover from each crisis.

When the night finally ended we four nurses ducked down to the local cafe for a drink and debrief before heading home to sleep and do it all again tonight.

Only I'm not doing it again tonight, because as it turns out I couldn't sleep. I kept seeing the dead, pondering what we did, wondering if we could have done more as my heart raced. Calm balm, soothing music, reading to tire me out... nothing worked. I repeatedly dropped off to sleep for a few minutes before waking with a start and returning to the night's events in my mind.

So while I seemed to cope at the time and accept the patient's deaths (they were old, unwell, one can't keep people alive forever), the emotional toll played out in my head today. What a terrible way to die. What an indignity. What a miserable end. And what of the families, rudely awoken with the sad news? And the other patients in the room who endured the events behind rustling curtains? Unpleasant. Disturbing.

Twelve years code free, but what a horrible way to end the run. Miserable. Unpleasant. Hideous. I know it had to happen some time, but I'd like another twelve years event free please.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

maybe that's why it's called chicken wire...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love my vegie patch. Such mystery contained within each seed, such treasure, such goodness.

So it came as something of a shock to step outside the other morning and discover this:




You cannot see it clearly in this picture, but there is a swathe of destruction running through the garden, wrought by none other than 'our' the neighbour's sheep.

I suppose it's understandable. We're in a drought, and as they've ranged over three connected backyards the sheep have eaten the grass down to nothing. It must have been nigh on torture to gaze dolefully through the chicken wire at such green lushness with nary a bight for themselves. Poor things.

But all they had to do was ask for more feed and we would have obliged - not press on the chicken wire until it unravelled and left an open path to heaven on dirt. This was our food not theirs. Our joy not theirs.

So I chased them back into the neighbour's yard like a crazed woman, feverishly hammered down the chicken wire around the whole patch and pulled out the remains of what was the most beautiful lettuce in the world, salvaged what corn I could (14 cobs destroyed) and mourned the asparagus trampled under heavy hoof (some of it might survive).

On the bright side, they don't seem to like tomatoes, so we still have 9 plants; the cucumber and pumpkin prickled their soft little mouths and they left us a plant or two of each (on which, joy of joys, the fruit is setting); and we viewed it as an opportunity to broaden our vegetable selection, replanting with fancy lettuce, capsicum, beetroot and spinach.

I suppose when it all boils down, chicken wire is designed to keep chickens in. Not sheep out.

Sigh.

After all the trouble with birds and sheep this year I'm beginning to think I should have planted zucchini after all. It seems to be calamity proof and I would feel as if I'd achieved something in the garden!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

perfect (birth)day

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday.

I know. I can't believe I'm that old either. (Thankyou to the wonderful Scottish patient who made my day [night actually, it being a night shift and all... he made my year in fact, it being about 2am on 1/1/08!] by asking if I still lived with my folks and guessing I might be 21. I'm sure he wasn't just being polite!)

What a lovely, lovely birthday it was too. Frank spoilt me from go to (almost) woah, breaking through my post-night shift haze with a happy birthday wish before indulging me with wonderful gifts (tagine dish and funky pendant necklace), breakfast... well, putting my weetbix in the bowl anyway, and an afternoon drive. In between was lunch with a good friend.

We decided to visit the Mole Creek Karst National Park, otherwise known as the Mole Creek Caves and check out a local geological attraction we mostly forget exists. At a pleasant 9 degrees Celsius all year (48 Fahrenheit) we enjoyed the reprieve from the summer heat too.





I'm not sure how you can forget such cool caves as these lie an hour's drive away, but somehow we do. It was good to reacquaint ourselves with the local tourist draws. We completed the tourist crawl by indulging in honey and apricot icecream at Chudleigh's famous honey farm before visiting friends in Deloraine.

Tea was Thai takeaway on the river's edge in the beautiful evening sun.

(We'll forget that we started watching 'Romulus, My father' on DVD when we returned home. Beautifully made, and well acted but singularly depressing in the tragic story it told. Not advised as romantic viewing for the end of a lovely day!)

So there you go. Another year older and it was such a nice day I almost forgot to feel the pain of the extra year.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

poop de loop iv

This had me laughing and laughing - a Christmas present from my brother and sister-in-law, who seem to appreciate my fascination with all things poop since they have chosen to feed it. I love the penguin connection too! Thanks guys.




And here he is in action...

video

(No idea what the extra picture is about sorry... it isn't anywhere in the html on the post. I wish I wasn't so computer ignorant)

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