A letter from Someone Famous

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Ok, we haven’t yet had a letter from the Queen like a good friend of ours but we haven’t written to her yet so I guess that explains that. However  the other day I was inspired by Christie of Childhood 101 to try a letter writing strategy to get Daniel even more excited about his reading.  I say “more excited” because after successfully keeping Captain Underpants out of my house for the past 10 years, he made it in as a birthday present for Daniel when he turned 8.  Daniel has embraced the unlikely superhero and we’ve read through the first two books in the series. So I thought a letter from Captain Underpants might be a bit diverting for the final day of school holidays.  I researched Dav Pilkey’s address as best I could from the publisher’s website and put that on the back to facilitate a response.  Daniel has written a letter back to Dav and is going to add a picture of his own before we head off to the post office to post a letter all the way to the USA.  He “found” the letter in our front yard and much to his disgust it actually had his favourite pair of dinosaur undies wrapped around it.  I’m sure he knows the letter was written by me but he was more than happy to “suspend belief” and go along with it all.

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I Have A Dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream – I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream – I have a dream
I’ll cross the stream – I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream – I have a dream
I’ll cross the stream – I have a dream

I just LOVE this Abba song!  For my birthday last year I was lucky enough to receive the book Greeting from the Knit Cafe from my dear friend Trish.  It contains lots of very tempting projects but the one that caught my eye first was the “Love Blanket”.  It was knitted by different women with different tensions in different directions and yet it all comes together to make a thing of beauty.  I liked the Love Blanket but “I had a Dream” so my version is the “Dream Blanket”.

It will have five panels instead of four and will be knitted with scrumptious Spud and Chloe Outer Yarn which just feels “buttery” as it glides through the fingers.  I’ve made designs for my own letters to be stitched onto each panel and I’m really enjoying knitting it because being garter stitch I can knit and multi-task where necessary.

So this project is my constant companion as I listen to piano (and tenor sax) practice, catch up on my taped TV shows and chat to ladies at the Knitting shop!

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Expectations

I have reached and passed the milestone called “Forty” whilst travelling a roller-coaster of varying emotions mainly due to me having unrealistic expectations and of course there’s nothing like a little health crisis to shake one’s feelings all around.

I was back at work by halfway through the week of my birthday even though I was still on anti-inflammatory medication and wasn’t supposed to be doing any “heavy lifting”.  This meant that even though we were in preparation mode for a major event at work, that I had to be very selective about which tasks I took on.   I was doing some “mental heavy lifting” though because at that time, even though I didn’t realise it I was carrying a large load of expectations about celebrating birthdays in the workplace.  Having worked in the education system for many years I had always previously been in the situation that no matter what day your birthday fell on, you turned up for work and in most school settings one’s birthday would be celebrated with colleagues to some extent.  You had to be there if it was a week day and working in the Catholic culture with a good dose of “pastoral care” thrown in usually meant that there would be a cake at morning tea, perhaps and announcement made and some sort of recognition.  If it happened to be one of those “zero” birthdays and especially if you had worked at the same place with the same people, for many years you could multiply the possibilities.

Suffice it to say that in the public service, and I’m sure in many other occupations, the situation is entirely different.  Many people arrange to not be at work on their birthdays and if they are, their work doesn’t take up so much of their life that they feel the need to celebrate anything with their colleagues.  In some places there are indeed ways of recognizing such events but if someone has only been with an organisation for a short time there should be no expectations.

Then there is much less risk, of disappointment, tears and making a total and complete fool of oneself in front of one’s colleagues.  My birthday ended in tears and I ddi the best the wipe it from my memory banks.  The bits I’d like to remember are the beautiful Pandora bracelet from my family and a beautiful floral arrangement delivered to my workplace from some very dear friends.


A Spectacular Night

Anthony’s birthday present this year was a family trip to see The Australian Outback Spectacular (including a tribute to the Light Horse).  And tonight was the night.  We joined hundreds of others, hooting and hollering, waving our hats, clapping our hands and stamping our feet as the spectacle unfolded before us.  I think the boys are just the right age for this sort of thing.  They could handle all the crashes and bangs and flashing lights without being too worried.  I did nearly fall off my chair when the first gun went off during the Charge of Beersheba but luckily Eric was there to take care of me.  I’d heartily recommend this attraction to people with kids of a similar age to ours.  It’s pricey but it is something you only do once and I thought it was well worth the money.


For Nine Years


That’s our first ever “family” photo taken on Melbourne Cup Day 2000. Eric had been born on the Friday before. Today is his ninth birthday which makes us parents for nine years.
Nine years since we did everything in our power to fall pregnant and stay pregnant. I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries in 1998 and at times in the ensuing months it seemed as if our dreams of parent hood would never come true. We had seven cycles of IUIs (inter-uterine inseminations) and by December of 1999 we were pregnant but sadly not for very long. We went back in early 2000 to try again thinking that we’d be in for another series of failed attempts but it seems our wonderful dr had got the “mix” of drugs correct and we fell pregnant with Eric.
Everything went swimmingly with the pregancy until 24 weeks. I had no morning sickness but I took a long time to realise that this could indeed mean our dreams were coming true. I remember one Saturday afternoon while dh was playing Bowls I drove to Spotlight to look for baby curtains and when I got to the roundabout at Indooroopilly I turned around and came back home again without even going into the shop. In fact before 24 weeks I’d bought about six singlets and we’d decided on a theme for the baby’s room – Bananas in Pyjamas.
Then on a Monday morning in August I awoke to bleeding and as I drove to the dr’s office the cramping beagn. I had an “irritable uterus” and it stayed cranky for the next 10 weeks. Dh took me from the dr’s to hospital that morning where I was confined to bed, allowed up to use the toilet or have a shower and that was it. If I left the confines of my room I had to go by wheelchair. After three weeks I was allowed home but I think I only lasted there for one night. The Sydney Olympics were on. I watched the swimming finals. I got all excited. I started having contractions again. Back to hospital. Do not pass go.
So there I stayed for the next 7 weeks with contractions every 2-3 days until finally when I reached 34 weeks the dr decided to deliver Eric via c-section. It was about 6:00pm at night and no cameras were allowed. I remember asking “what is it? what is it?” and the dr saying “it’s a baby!”. We never found out the sex of the baby until he was born. The dr got him out and promptly dumped him on my face and I was left with no uncertainty as to whether we had a boy or girl! He weighed in at 5lb 3oz which was a very good weight for 34 weeks. All the weeks of ventolin, steroid injections and bed rest had paid off. He was soon whisked away to the SCN and a humidi crib where he had oxygen till midnight. After a couple of nights in the humidi crib he graduated to a plastic cot and from Special Care 1 to Special Care 2 where he would spend the first 4 weeks of his life – floppy and tired and not interested in feeding.
His name was decided when we were engaged and Anthony’s Uncle Eric passed away. We sat having dinner one night and somehow decided that Eric James (the James for my Dad Jim) would be a great name for a baby boy. Even though I had a scan every week that I was in hospital we never found out the gender. The scan people used to see us coming in the end and say “we know, you’re the people who don’t want to know whether it’s a boy or girl – you just want to know if it is alright.” The girl’s name was still being discussed on the day Eric was delivered so we know he was “meant to be”.
I got sent home on day 7 and while it was wonderful to go home it was also one of the saddest days of my life, driving away from that hospital with our little Eric still there. He was finally home with us in early December wearing a newborn sized huggies with the whole waistband folded over and 0000 clothes falling off him.
From then on he progressed very well and was always a very contented baby who was easy to care for. The whole saga was very challenging and still challenges me to a certain extent even today. I remember being asked once about what hadn’t gone to plan with Eric and I could truthfully answer absolutely everything. We learned to not have an expectation about anything set in stone and to accept what life dished up for us. I wouldn’t change any of it because out of it we were gifted with Eric – a truly wonderful human being.


Haven’t Died. Have been to heaven.


Happy Birthday to me!
Well not for another 22 days officially but I’ve received a wonderful gift this evening. One of my best friends F, who is down in Brisbane from Cairns for a work related course, took me out to the Gold Class Cinema at Indooroopilly for a special preview screening of Julie and Julia. As if that wasn’t good enough in itself There. Were. Party. Bags. and free drinks and a free appetiser. Of course we both needed a serious de-briefing after the movie because it was fantastic so we had “supper” down at the Pig and Whistle.
There was so much to talk about that I seriously need that week in Cairns with F (yes that where E and I are headed in November!) Without giving out too much information we NEED to cook Boeuf Bourginonne while I am in Cairns. We were wondering if this was the first movie with a blog as part of the central plot. We think blogs have no doubt been mentioned on many shows and in movies but not central to anything.
We also talked about this blog and I shared how sometimes it is a challenge to think of the positive in my life which is what this blog is all about hence the title “What Works For Me” but how the very act of thinking of the positive is a good thing in itself. That is especially true now as I am in such a period of transition and change in my life. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the changes and forget the positives.
We discussed who might be reading this blog. I have it in my e-mail signature although not in flashing lights or anything but it goes out with almost every e-mail I send.
So if you are a reader please think about identifying yourself if you are comfortable with that. You could do it publicly in the comments or send me an e-mail at tmcnamara22@gmail.com .
Either way I’d love to hear from you. I don’t have Google analytics or anything very technical on my blog to track who’s visiting although F might introduce me to that while I’m in Cairns. So if you area reader and you don’t want to be identified you won’t. So don’t be worried or anything. I’m just interested.