Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guilty Viewing

My husband thinks I watch too much tv. Unfortunately I have to agree with him. I record nearly all my tv viewing digitally. This usually means that I can be as far behind as three weeks of current screenings of shows. Watching tv is my mind freeing itself. In other words, my veg out. I watch tv when the kids have gone to bed. My husband is also in bed earlier than me because he goes to work quite early in the mornings. I like to be a mindless couch potato for a minimum of one hour. Sometimes this can stretch to two or three. It depends on how tired I am. This is followed by reading in bed. Since having children this has become a typical nightly routine.

Back to my husband thinking I watch too much tv I thought I'd share some of the shows I currently have racked up waiting to watch. And at this point I'd also like to add that I love scrolling down my listed viewing options!

Brothers & Sisters


Desperate Housewives

Grand Designs

Modern Family





Winners & Losers

Two shows that I do watch 'live' are:

And shows that I am eagerly awaiting:

Masterchef Australia


Downton Abbey

Anything detective has me:

Or Period

And for now that's all I can think of. Yes, I know, that is a lot of viewing. Happily I can record my shows and watch them at my leisure.

I also have several TV DVD Box sets

Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Anne of Green Gables

The Sopranos

The Gilmore Girls


and Sex and the City

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

He has autism

My son has autism. There I've said it. Today is his birthday and he's four. He only started talking last October - when he was three and a half. Suddenly it went from a handful of words to two words. It was usually a colour added. The 'black car'; the 'purple block; the 'brown book'. Now we have almost sentences. We're still waiting for the pronouns to be added.

He was diagnosed with high functioning autism just after he turned two. So he's 'just' on the spectrum was how it was explained to me. I was also told that a diagnosis is a good thing, because he will have access to early intervention.

When all this happened I had just had my daughter. My mother was convinced that I had post-natal depression. I don't know how many times I had to tell her I didn't. I was dealing with the fact my son has autism. It wasn't something that was going to go away.

So this brings me to now. It is almost two years since his diagnosis. Until now I've been walking around telling everyone he has a speech delay. Thus far this has sufficed. But now I can see the quizzical looks from people. The crinkling of the brow. The white elephant in the room when friends are there. They've noticed that something isn't quite right.

A few weeks ago I decided to start telling people. Last week I was at the library. We bumped into another mum whose son is in the same kinder group as my son. I blurted it out. And regretted it a heartbeat later. I had stupidly chosen the wrong person to tell this to. Of course she was completely unaware of the significance of me actually saying to her that he has autism. She probably thought I told this to everyone. I certainly said it with that impression. But oh how I regretted it. I went home with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that stayed with me for days. You're probably asking why was she the wrong person to say this to? It was her response. 'How is that working for you?' Seems an innocuous enough question. But it was the way it was posed. There wasn't the light in her eyes of, oh I get it, I get you, I know where you're coming from. She didn't have any idea what it was. I'm not laying any blame here, but I know that in my desperate bid to just say it out loud to someone, I had been too hasty.

Despite last week's declaration, today I told someone else. This person didn't say anything. But it was different. She got it. I could see it in her eyes. She had asked my son a question and he had chosen not to respond. The timing was right to intervene so I just said it. He has autism. No more was needed to be said.

It sounds as though I have told only two people in this world that my son has autism. That's not the case. Immediate family members know. Not all family. Just some. Some friends know. Some friends have guessed and we haven't said either way. There are many many people that I don't really want to tell. I'm not sure why, or at least not sure if I can articulate it properly. I think deep down it's because I don't want my son to be treated any differently.

So is my son different? He is and he isn't. Anyone reading this who has had some experience with autism will understand what I mean by that. It's such a hard thing to describe. It depends entirely whether or not he has made a connection with people. If a connection has been made then it's all magnificent. Often he does make a connection and this is why with the few people I have told their first response is often one of surprise.

I need to finish this post by getting a few things off my chest. The last two years I have internalised much. I haven't made any response to well intended comments, nor have I responded to hurtful statements, nor just plain ignorance. But what's a blog for if I can't now answer some of these things here?

So, here are my answers. No, it will not go away. Yes, he has got it. No, medicine will not help. Yes, he has multivitamins and god forbid let's not forget the daily dose of Omega 3. I know you mean well when you say that you can't tell off chidren like this, but my son is the same as any other child and must be disciplined if need be. How is it working for me? Very well. He loves kinder, he loves his day care, he loves his little sister and he makes friends just like any other child. You just need to give him a chance. Screaming no to him will not do any good. Why not try and lead him in a different direction? Yes, I know he has special needs but what do you want me to do? Lock him up in another room and throw away the key? Yes he knows his alphabet. He's known it since he was two. No he's not dumb. Yes he comprehends you. Yes he can have lollies or cake, I don't stop him from having sugar. Yes he eats fruit. If he didn't eat fruit that day maybe he didn't feel like it. I'm sorry he doesn't answer your questions but that's just the way he is. Yes I agree with you that his drawings are superb. Yes I know that all he talks about is cars. However, if it wasn't for Lightning McQueen would he have ever started talking? If you know he likes cars than talk to him about that. I promise you he'll respond. No don't give him biscuits and lollies all day because then he will behave badly. He's not naughty, he just doesn't know how to socialise properly. We're working on that.

And that's just it. We're working on it. Early Intervention is my life saver. Although they will probably never read this, and I have told them in the past, let me say again, thank you to our therapists. Without their help we would not be where we are today.

Oh. And yes, he will be going to school. So Happy Birthday my angel. I love you very much and I am the luckiest person in the world.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My wall of books

Back to our renovation/extension plans. One of the things the architect and I have talked about is a wall of books. This is to be along a walkway that is designed to link our old house to the new part of the house. I'm very excited and spend lots of times visualising it. I imagine the shelving to be a little like this.

As it is a walkway there won't be any room for chairs and tables. It is literally along the entire wall so you should be able to walk along it and peruse titles. Filling this bookshelf also has me daydreaming excitedly. At present my collection would probably only number a third of what this wall could contain, and I'm just quietly sitting back thinking of all the lovely stories I'm going to slowly fill it with. I don't plan to do it in one rush, but rather spend years adding to my collection.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A coffee a day keeps cranky mum at bay.........

I'm really into my coffee. I think I may have said this already a couple of times on this blog. I have one espresso a day - if I'm out it's a strong latte and if at home it's more of a macchiato. I'm so into my coffee that one year I even convinced myself that it was a good idea to buy a cafe. What a mistake that turned out to be. The cafe that is, not the coffee. That of course was the shit year.

I've been thinking about when I start teaching how am I going to get my espresso fix? This probably seems really inane but I get anxious about this. One of our lecturers was giving us some practical advice for when we go out into schools. She talked about putting money into the tearoom kitty. Not that I expected schools to have an espresso machine, but the thought of having to drink bad coffee everyday sends shudders down my spine. Or even worse, having to make use of the dreaded urn!

I have thought of a way around this dilemma. I have an old espresso machine - that makes a great coffee - that I can take with me to a school. It's portable enough. I think I will probably do just that when I actually start teaching at a permanent school. But, I'm a student teacher. This means I have to be ballsy enough to turn up to teaching rounds carrying my espresso machine with me (and all the accoutrements that go with of course). I think the other teachers will think I'm insane! As I'm studying part time I won't need to worry about this until next year when I actually do my teaching rounds - see I told you I get anxious about this and I'm already worrying. I'll let you know later down the track how the other teachers react to the appearance of my espresso machine. Because of course I will have to take it.

In the meantime I thought I'd share some places that I really enjoy a coffee at when I'm out and about. Not that that happens much nowadays with two very young children. I like to go to Boheme cafe on Bridge rd and another good one is Kojo Brown. Chimmy's bakery does a great one also. Some others I've discovered is Kanteen, Hektor Woodley's and when I'm in the city Journal and Degraves espresso bar.

Degraves espresso bar

Hektor Woodley's


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Time spent teaching is never lost

Considering the direction I am going I found this very inspiring.

I cannot imagine a day of my life without reading. This is why I studied literature in college. This is why I became a teacher: to share in grand conversations about books, to spread the joy, to initiate and welcome students into the fraternity, into what Frank Smith (1988) calls 'the club of clubs,' to travel with them into wondrously familiar or incredibly strange imaginative worlds.

Wilhelm, Jeffrey D. (1995). you gotta be the book: teaching engaged and reflective reading with adolescents, Teachers College Press, New York.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Connecting with students in the classroom

I have to do a presentation in a few weeks about getting today's student to connect in the English classroom. One idea I want to explore is using adventure games as texts. I prefer to call adventure games interactive fiction. How may playing an adventure game help students learn or advance their literacy you may ask? Well I see it as a unique way of looking at narrative. Other ways for a story to be propelled. Exploring characters. Using the game as a visual to encourage descriptive writing. Perhaps students could also explore an ICT component and try creating their own games? Also some games are based on books so it's a good way to look at the story telling on another platform. A good example of this is Bladerunner. Here students could examine the book, movie and the game and compare the three. Probably the best way to use games as tools is for creative writing. The following are some screen shots from a few games, and I think they're a fantastic visual for students to propel their own writing.

Blackmirror two


Secret Files Tunguska



To add more food for thought here is a youtube post that talks about using games in the classroom to inspire creative writing. Importantly watch the students faces as they interact with the game Myst. Now that's connecting in the classroom.

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Passage

The Passage by Justin Cronin, I would give four stars out of five. Great book, and I'm always one for a good horror tale. It lost one star, because when the second half of the book began and he introduced new characters I kept on forgetting who was who. They got a little lost in the storytelling. However towards the end things picked up well. Enjoyable.

Kitchen inspiration

Here are some Kitchen photos I'm gaining inspiration from.
I'm loving the charcoal cupboards, but I want mine to be more bluish rather than grey. I think stainless steel appliances look great against this colour combination.

We have a fireplace that faces out in both our existing front rooms. Since we're demolishing walls, we're keeping the fireplace column in the middle of the open plan. This means that our kitchen will have a fireplace facing in. I think this will automatically give the kitchen a bit of a French Provincial feel. I also love the idea of the light fitting being a rustic wrought iron lantern type thing.

As well as this I like the idea of having some open shelves somewhere.......

Kitchen colours and materials

As part of our renovation we've decided to go for a fairly monochrome colour scheme for our kitchen. The kitchen will be U shaped with a free standing stainless steel oven and stove and streamlined drawers and cabinetry on one side. On one wall is a large window and the sink and dishwasher will be there. I'm hoping to try and fit the fridge on this side too, but it will depend on the window size. On the right arm of the U shape is more windows and ample bench space.

This is the colour planned for the cabinetry.

For our benches we plan to use Caesar stone organic white

Splashback is marble

Finally the walls are to be half-strength Dulux Clotted cream

It's been a long long time - hinge post

Okay, so I'll be the first to admit that this blog hasn't seen the light of day on my computer screen for quite some time. I'm going to call this post a bit of a hinge. Allow me to explain. I've been reading some of my older posts and my life has changed so much since then. I started the blog when I began my degree to 'publish' my writing. I was also working in a university library at the time. Well when I finished my degree I was pregnant with my first child. I graduated in March 2007 and my son was born in April. How's that for timing!!!
As well as this my husband was offered a position in Queensland that we took, so I resigned from my library job and the three of us lived on the Gold Coast for two years.
We returned home to Melbourne in 2009, to the same house as we rented it out, and my daughter was born a few months later. So really when you think about it, I was pregnant with my son when we moved to Queensland and had him up there, and did the opposite later, where I was pregnant with my daughter and moved back to Melbourne and had her here.
So life has been a whirl of playgroups, library outings, park play, gymbaroo, music maestro, kinder and daycare.
After four years of children's activities I've decided this year to focus a little bit more on myself and I've started my Masters in secondary teaching. This also means that in two years time I should be able to re enter the workforce as a teacher. A prospect I find very appealing. My methods are English and Humanities.
The other big news is that in a few months time we will be starting a major renovation/extension. Presently we are oozing out of the cracks of our house, that was just fine when it was the two of us, but now with our added offspring. Well, the sooner we add on these rooms the better. As we plan to live here whilst the building is happening I'm sure will provide much fodder for this blog.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...