Friday, 27 April 2012

Day Zero Update – April 2012

Those of you have been reading for a while may remember that I had started the Day Zero Project (101 things in 1001 days) . I haven't updated for a while. In that time, I've actually achieved some things and started some others. Things I've done recently:

  • I had a picnic with the extended family while we visited during the school holidays.
  • I have given up caffeine completely! This was on the list as cut down my caffeine intake but I am now completely caffeine free. I hope I'm finished withdrawal - well the headache part anyway. I'm tired and grumpy though, but that is apparently normal in caffeine withdrawal.
  • I have been to an Art Gallery or Museum on 5 separate occasions.
  • Finally , I learnt to make a paper crane. I may have been taught by a friends 9 year old but I have photographic proof that I have it! 

The process.

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The outcome.

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I have now completed 28 of my 101 goals and have another 14 in progress. I'm not sure I will make all 101 goals given my deadline is in 160 days or 4 Oct 2012. But I'm plodding along.

BTW Glowless is holding FlogYoBlog over at her place for the last time today. I thought I'd join in to support Glow and her awesome hosting of the Flog for the last 12 or so months.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Blogging, community and authenticity

Image from Geoff

I figure that almost everyone in the Australian blogosphere (at least - it may have gone worldwide) knows about the article last week about 4 of Australia's bloggers.

I'm not going to talk about that. But the controversy has made me ask myself about blogging. Why do we do it?

The majority of comments about last weekends article and its fall out had in common was the camaraderie of the blogging community. That we, as bloggers, are our own community. And the best part is that that community is supportive of each other.

We have seen it time and again. We can probably all name bloggers who have gotten support from the blogging community. And not just in the form of comments but real, tangible support. And being a part of that and witnessing that is such a positive thing.

I don't believe that is the sole reason people blog but I do believe that it is a huge part. It may be a reason so many people enjoy blogging. Me? Some days I'm not sure why i do it. I think mostly to empty my head. I know that was one of the reasons i started. Another was I wanted to get back into the habit of writing.

But I wonder if by not sharing my stuff, the things that have made me into the me I am whether I am cheating myself and you my readers. While the term does get thrown around a lot, does not sharing mean I'm not an authentic blogger? I have pondered this frequently this year. I am afraid.

One good thing came out of the weekend. I read and was moved by a quote from Suzi at Under the Windmills - The words I don’t write are not lies by omission, they are my story to tell -or not- in my own time.

It was when I read that I realized that the bits I give you are snapshots into my life. They are the bits I am willing to share at this point. I have so much stuff that I want to blog - stuff about life, the universe and everything but I worry about over sharing. I worry about putting things on the Internet that I haven't told people who mean a lot to me in real life. Stuff that I worry may change people's opinions of me.

So I'm stuck. I know it's my decision to make. I need to decide if I am willing to share the hard stuff. It's a tough decision. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

First world vs Third World - inspired to do good

There have been things going on in my world that are so totally first world problems.

Things like the frustrating wait in the supermarket on Saturday or Sunday afternoons trying to get the fastest check out operator and still getting stuck for 30 minutes while your ice cream starts to get soggy and then leaves a melted trail from the trolley when you put it on the conveyor belt to get scanned.

Or how about the time when someone hit the mini electricity box in our street with a car? The electricity company sent people to repair it and they just cut the power to the box and therefore probably 100 or so houses without giving any warning. This caused absolute outrage in some people. They were angry that they had no prior notification and that they couldn't save the document that they had been working on. They swore at the electricity people because "I work at home and you have no right to turn off the power without giving us notice." Of course when the person was told it would take about two hours to repair the problem, it seemed the world was going to end. I wonder how that person coped when the power was actually off for about 3 hours?

I can understand, as I work at home and had a sick child with me that day, but would they have preferred the electricity box to have blown up at some point? As that was a very likely scenario.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't happy with the situation either. After all I couldn't have a cuppa. However, we are lucky enough to have a gas stove so I boiled water in a saucepan. But the reactions were so extreme I got to thinking about our first world priorities and problems.

Are we so enamored with and dependent on our comforts of life that a little hitch causes a major issue in our lives? I'm guessing for many of us the answer is a resounding Yes! The thing is, those little upsets, those things are really so meaningless in the grand scheme of life. Take for example what some of the bloggers I read have been doing to raise awareness and funds for others.

Image from

Those of you have have been out of the blogosphere or not on Twitter for about a week may not know that Eden Riley from Edenland went to Niger with World Vision to see the conditions and the people affected by the West African Food Crisis. You can check out her posts about it. You can either start with this post and go on to the newer posts or click on this link to take a look at all the posts tagged I have a world vision.

Lori from Random Ramblings of a Stay At Home Mum also blogged about Eden's trip but also about the Vicks Breath for Life campaign which aims to help increase awareness of and prevent pneumonia in children under 5 in Bangladesh. Check out her post Inhale.

Lee from Mummy Issues: Part 2 is a girl after my own heart. However Lee is giving up chocolate and barista made coffee for the month of May. She will be planning on donating the amount she saves to the Australian Red Cross. Her link is here. You can sponsor her too, if you like.

Nathalie from Easy Peasy Kids is inviting bloggers to get together and each donate an amount of money which will be combined to make a difference. Check out her post here.

I'm in awe of the amount of bloggers who have been inspired to do something to help improve the world. I hope you are too.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Our Easter weekend

The eggs left by the Easter Bunny.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it. Otherwise I hope you are having a good long weekend or whatever you may be celebrating this weekend.

Ours has been fairly low key. We didn't escape our city as most people here do every long weekend, but then we don't often go away. Do other cities have what seems like panic buying at the shops on the day before and after Good Friday? It's a weird phenomenon. Here at least, the shops are only shut on Good Friday itself but some how this translates to a madhouse in the shops on Thursday afternoon and again on Saturday.

On Friday Mr E and I went to get some culture at the Art Gallery. We saw the Renaissance Exhibition. It closes on Monday so it was fairly busy. I often used to go to the art gallery and see the travelling exhibits but once Boy Child was born I stopped. Going back to the gallery is on my Day Zero list. We actually went t the Portrait Gallery afterwards as well. We had been recently but Girl Child was with us so we missed out on seeing the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012. So we went back to check that out. Surprisingly Mr E and I both choose the same photo for the People's Choice award. It is Peta by Eryca Green and to me, it is very powerful.

Unfortunately all that culture may have been a bit too much for me and I was visited by the headache monster. Now regular readers may remember that I got a headache in March last year which while it hasn't gone away, as long as I take my meds then I'm mostly okay. But not this time. This time, it was bad. By the time I had taken all meds including Panadeine Forte and still could not move my head without pain I went to lie down. The problem was lying down made it worse. While Mr E.was making dinner I had started throwing up and knew things were bad.

My executive decision was to go to the emergency department. We got to the hospital about 7:45 pm. I gave my medical history and in return was given Endone, something like Nurofen and something to stop me throwing up. It appears that 7:45 pm is a good time to arrive as I was triaged, changed into a gorgeous hospital gown and in a bed in less than 30 minutes.

The nice Irish sounding Doctor had two attempts at taking blood and situating a cannula. I have two nice bruises but I got morphine and some weird infusion stuff that is supposedly very good for migraines. I spent most of the night having my temperature and blood pressure taken and dozing. I got sprung about 6:30 am and called Mr E. to pick me up. Note to self: 6:30am is also a good time to visit the local ED.

Yesterday was a pretty much a write off as I was very tired and the head still hasn't gone back to the normal pain level. But last night the Easter Bunny came and we got to eat chocolate for breakfast. Girl Child has had her swimming lesson, Boy Child has a friend with him at the pool and soon we will be leaving. I see another nap in my future.

I hope you are having a nice day, whatever you are doing.

Monday, 2 April 2012

April is Autism Awareness Month

I'm joining in a Light it up Blue for Autism linky to increase Awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).

I wasn't sure what to write for this and I needed Boy Child's consent to actually press publish if I was going to be talking about him. His concern is not really about what I say about him and ASD stuff more that with the release of the DSM-V that Aspergers Syndrome will no longer be recognised. It is his label and he doesn't want that to change.

So here's a few facts for you. A 2008 study released by the American CDC has shown that 1 in 88 children have an ASD. Children diagnosed with Aspergers are generally diagnosed a lot later at the age of 6 years and 3 months. That fact totally blew me away when I read it as Boy Child was diagnosed 3 days shy of that age.

Here are a few things I have learnt or realised along the way. My experience may be very different from yours as my child is different from yours or those you know.

Professionals listening to your concerns may respond with "all children do that". While it is a gross generalisation, they are right. However, it's the intensity, the extremes of these behaviours that can tip it over from 'typical' childhood behaviour.

These are some examples of things that crossed over from 'typical' child behaviour into things that concerned us.

  1. Boy Child hated his hair being touched. So much so that haircuts were extremely difficult and he was banned from a hairdressing salon at age 3 because he kicked a hairdresser in the stomach.
  2. Whenever we had to do a check for nits (head lice) he screamed so loudly and so much we had to warn the neighbours in case they thought we were hurting him. When he did have nits in Kindergarden, he was so distressed during their removal that he dug his fingernails into my arm. Thankfully the scars he left have now faded.
  3. He basically lived on nuggets, chips and nutella or Vegemite sandwiches for many years. He would often vomit at the sight or smell of food he considered 'gross'. His Kindy teacher convinced him to try a grape and he spat it back into her hand. My mother made him try mashed potatoes and he vomited. He couldn't eat at the same table as people with 'gross' food.
  4. His imaginative games involved all participants following his script. There was no leeway. The games had to run exactly as he imagined them.

We were lucky. It only took about 6 months to get a diagnosis for him. We told him about his Aspergers and how it meant that he thought differently to most people. Boy Child was happy because "now they can help me."

Schools seem to have improved their understanding of ASDs. Boy Child did fairly well at primary school. Although he often tried to teach the class, he was never really disruptive so he was never given any aide time. In hindsight, I wonder if I should have fought more on that point. I managed to get him an Individualised Learning Plan (ILP) for Years 2 to 4. But his Year 1 and 5 teachers were not at all receptive to the idea. I'm really glad that schools have a much greater awareness of ASDs now than they did.

Boy Child is now 13 and in Year 8 (the second year of High School here). A number of people have said in the last 6 months how his Aspergers is not really noticeable or that he must be considered mild. Those comments have come from people who haven't spent much time with him, so while I take them with a grain of sal I see them as a positive. It shows how far that Boy Child has come.

ASDs can't be cured. But I want to know that we have equipped Boy Child to deal with real life without stunting his awesomeness as he puts it. For Autism Awareness month I want people to know every person on the Autism Spectrum is different. This is our story. What works for my child may not work for yours or your friends or your neighbours etc.

What's your story? Can you help increase the awareness of Autism during April?



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