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Chris is beautiful. Sprocket is also beautiful, but he's not quite whole yet, so there is 1.9 of them.

On Wednesday, should he be born, he would be considered at term, so maybe I should start calling them my beautiful 2. This is the one time in life when a person can be singular and plural at the same time. The mind boggles.

Chris has been slowed. It's that extra .9 of a person doing it. She is warm, soft and rotund. Sometimes when I hold her I get the very strong impression that I'm holding the baby too. Sometimes he takes the time to remind me of that very fact. Sometimes I wonder if he's trying to hold me too. I hope he knows he is loved.

I am both terrified and impatient to meet him. To be able to hold him myself, so he can demand I return him to his mother ASAP.

It's still all to come....

And i'm sure i'll keep doing more of this style of posting before it does.
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According to THE SCHDULE (tm.) Sprocket is due to arrive in one month. I hope he waits at least that long, because I've got 2 more weeks of my block placement at Alexandra to go. So remember little one, After September 9, everything will be fine is our family motto at the moment.

So what happens now? Time has run short and it has run fast. Chris is practising meditation and relaxation exercises, keeping herself fit and doing a tonne of yoga. She's strong, and her strength leaves me gobsmacked.

After what felt like a lull in activity and a lull in change, in the last 2 weeks I became very very aware that my son is alive, kicking, bouncing and causing his mother increasing aches and pains. Corny as it sounds, if I could take one second of that discomfort on and spare Chris' lower back I would. I'm sure this sense gets stronger as you get closer to the event. I hope I can help.

Soon Sprocket's lungs will have to do their own work. He'll have to breath and eat all on his own. Of course he won't be able to do much else for that first little while, but he'll get there. He'll have songs and stories. Funny faces and games of "peek-a-boo" and whatever else.... He'll have cuddles and whispers. He'll have us making mistakes, getting things wrong, overdoing or underdoing things and blundering about until we find our own new equilibrium. He'll have (indeed he already has) the unconditional love of his mother and father.

He'll change us forever. He already has.....


Jul. 18th, 2011 09:21 am
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I'm not sure if things are going really quickly or dragging just at the moment. I've been on uni holidays, so I've had a relative surplus of free time. I've spent the free time fixing things around the house, working extra shifts where I can and generally trying not to think about teaching. I've also read a book or 2 and played a lot of The Sims 3....

This sense of time struck me last week when I was talking to a colleague in the library who I hadn't seen for a while. She asked how Chris was. I told her where we were at and how things were going. She remarked that pregnancy seems to take ages, and it felt like the baby should already be here. I guess for a work colleague I see only once a week or so, it must seem that way. Mum also always guesses we're about 4 weeks ahead of where we actually are. So it's an odd place to be in right now. Chris is about 6.5 months along. There's 10 weeks or so left till the early due date, or 12 or so weeks till the later one (yay for ambiguous scans!). So basically by the end of my next series of teaching rounds I'll come home, and the baby will be 1 or 2 weeks away. Scary shit.

So is it dragging or is it flying past? I actually can't say..... It seems to be doing both at the same time. Maybe it's the uni holidays making time feel like it's running a little slower, for me at least. There just seems to be less of a sense of urgency about things at the moment. I'm sure this sense is all the stronger for [personal profile] mstakenidentity as the one going through the physical changes. Sprocket's growing. A lot. He's also dancing around a lot. While I know that [personal profile] mstakenidentity takes joy in both these facts, I understand it's making life less than comfortable, which probably contributes to making time drag. Oh, and then there's the lack of sleep from discomfort and bathroom visits that she gets as a special bonus. When she finishes work in a month or so, things will probably slow right down for her....

We've also done most of the running around for baby preparations. Or at least I think we have. Maybe. Kinda.... We'll find out in a couple of months I suppose, but we're no longer hunting for lots of things. We've got things for Sprocket to sleep in, things for Sprocket to wear, things to catch Sprocket's poo, things to transport and carry Sprocket places, things to wrap Sprocket up in, things to clean Sprocket up, spares of most things for when Sprocket covers whatever he's wearing in vomit and so on and so on.... So there's less urgency about that side of things.

So yes, I suppose there's a lull in activity for us. Not so much for Sprocket himself though. He's going bananas. And I imagine in the next few weeks [personal profile] mstakenidentity will start to feel like this whole pregnancy thing has gone on long enough.....

We start some classes soon. July 26th is our first session, then they happen weekly after that for 3 weeks. Appointments with midwives are getting more frequent. I have a feeling time will start to speed up again really soon...
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On Friday afternoon, at about 2:40pm I was in school, just logging into the library PCs to check on stuff when I got a phone call from Chris. She explained she was in emergency at the Royal Women's and wanted me to get there ASAP.

I flew out the door, and I mean flew. I had no idea I could get my shit together so fast.... Fortunately my placement school is Uni High. It's literally on the same block as the hospital. I was there in 15 minutes. Chris was in pain. She was really concerned that she was about to miscarry, but the initial assessment by nurses/midwives at the hospital had shown that she wasn't. She was okay. Sprocket's heart was still beating normally, but they needed to find out what the source of the pain was.

I sat with her. Assured her things would be fine. Asked her if things were getting worse/better, and generally did my best to make myself useful as some hours passed by. The passing of time isn't anyone's fault. Chris had been seen and assessed quickly. There were women coming in in labour fairly regularly and taking priority.

We got into the ED at about 4pm or so, and chris got a bed. She described the pain as cramps across her lower back, and there was also pain in her tummy. It came and went, and felt crampy. Chris' first thought had been "Oh crap, it's contractions", but examinations had show otherwise.

Chris was seen by a doctor at around 6pm. Unfortunately she was unable to give an immediate diagnosis. Some blood tests were ordered chris had some physical examinations while the doctor poked around for any physical signs of distress downstairs. But nothing came of any of the tests they ran. Time was flying, and Chris remained a mystery... We started playing "Word With Friends" on my phone to pass the time.

After 3 different tests/examinations, an Obstetrician finally arrived at about 8:45. Poked around, inspected Chris and quickly concluded she was suffering from "Pelvic Instability". Her diagnosis didn't involve anything invasive and took about 30 seconds. Of course, without the preliminary work done by the other doctor, it's quite possible the specialist would have still done physical exams and ordered blood tests.... But it looked as though it took 30 seconds for this doctor to tell what was wrong after we'd waited around for 6.5 hours to see her. But them's the breaks on a Friday night I suppose.

Pelvic instability occurs in some women during pregnancy as the ligaments/tendons/whatever that hold together the bones of the "Pelvic Girdle" loosen to make way for childbirth. In some women they loosen more than necessary, and cause lower back pain as the bones drift apart and put more pressure on other muscles.

So Chris is seeing a physiotherapist today. She may have to wear a belt or something, or do exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles in the area.

So that's the down....

The up can be summed up in 1 sentence:

Yesterday I felt my son kick.

Reality melted at that moment. The world froze and faded to black in my mind. I looked around the room like it was on a movie screen. Like it was a cardboard theatre set and had ceased to be real-life. My other senses numbed for a time, and the only thing that was real was the feel of Chris under my hand, and the warmth of her skin.

And just as the world was starting to fade back in.... he kicked again.
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[personal profile] mstakenidentity hit 20 weeks over the weekend. For perspective that means there is less time left in the "pregnancy schedule" than has now passed. October 8 looms large in our lives. We found out sprocket is a boy last week. We also found out many more facts about our son that are much more important. He has 2 arms and 2 legs, there are 5 digits on each of his hands and feet. He has a properly formed stomach and bladder. 2 kidneys. A heart that isn't leaking and is pumping fluid like it us supposed to. A tiny tiny brain that is taking shape. He also has a nose.

Time is flying by. Chris is showing more every day. She looks beautiful. She's tired a lot. She's hungry frequently. She can feel sprocket fluttering about, before the outside world gets the chance to.

I find it hard to concentrate on other things in life right now.... Uni is boring. School is challenging, but even it still seems like a petty distraction from the real business of living at the moment. In 3 weeks semester is over. I'm going to put the cot together. And the bassinet. We're going to get the carpets at the house cleaned, and the study will start to convert to a nursery.

The hardest thing about all this is that in August I'm doing a teaching placement in the country. I think I can still make all the birthing classes. I worry about not being around for those 4 weeks. I worry about what I might miss. I worry that we made the wrong decision several weeks ago when I confirmed my commitment to the rural placement program.... But just because the short term is pressing, the long term doesn't disappear. The experience will be invaluable, and may effect our future profoundly.

So yes. It looms large. Larger with each passing day. I remain excited, overjoyed and terrified. And, from what they say, the real challenges are yet to come.
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So, Chris is now 15 weeks along this apparently 40 or so week journey. It's both going fast and slow at the same time. It's joyous, exciting confronting, terrifying and at times heart-wrenching all at once.

There are a bunch of guide-books out there for dads to be. I've been avoiding them mostly because they will say things like "So, you've gotten her pregnant, well no more strip-clubs for you then!", or "Time to give up on restoring that Holden out the back" or some such crap.

So here's my attempt to use words to give an honest appraisal of the experience so far:

It's hard. It's kind of bewildering and it can feel like you're blundering around in a haze that's a mix of anxiety and euphoria. You have no idea what's going on most of the time, and all you know is that the person you care about most in the world is on a journey you can never truly understand.

But, truth be told, your partner's probably not got that much more of an idea of what's going on than you do. They're just in the unfortunate position of having to deal with all the changes from the inside while you run off to get chocolate milk, open doors, carry things and try your darndest to make yourself useful because you know you can't really bring them any real relief from what they're going through.

That's the hardest bit. Feeling useless. Knowing that if there's pain, you can't relieve it. You can't even comprehend it. You're a passenger on this ride. She is too when you think about it, but at least she's sitting in front seat.

In my heart of hearts, I'm loving it. Granted, I'm am a slightly insane paternal cluck-monster. It is a beautiful thing, nonetheless. In spite of the vomiting, in spite of the pains, in spite of the tears it's beautiful. It's beautiful the way you watch your partners abdomen with a kind of bizarre impatience as you wait for it to "pop". It's beautiful when you see the 12 week old foetus dance around inside your partner as it tries to get comfortable. Seeing a picture so clear that you can make out a tiny brain forming, a brain that will one day have all the capacities and complexities of yours, probably to a greater degree. It's beautiful taking the time to think about what it is and what it means. It's beautiful hearing the excitement in the voices of future grandparents. And it's beautiful standing awe-struck by your partner and what she and her body are working on.

Anyway I'm out of words. Words stop working in the face of experiences that are too massive. I wish dad was here sometimes. But he isn't. So I give him the news in my dreams.
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Work: Normal. Nothing to see here. Move along.....

Study: Very intense. Got to bash my way through two essays tomorrow. But I think I'll be fine.

School: As in teacher placements - I have lots of thoughts on this.... So a summary is hard.

The opportunity afforded to you by teaching is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I just realised that next term I will be introducing Homer to a bunch of year 10s who won't know what it is. But what if I suck. I know Homer has probably survived literally thousands (10s of thousands?) of bad teachers. But still, what if I ruin it for these kids? Lets not even consider the damage you can do in my other classes, history and drama.... But someone's got to do it, I suppose... Still, gearing up for it. Next term is the block placement, when the real work begins!.

So, what else?

Honestly there isn't a lot else. There's not that much time for a lot else. It's been too long since I've seen people. But that's kind of my life at the moment.

Oh the garden isn't dead. THere's Capsicums coming, and zucchinis. And even more tomotoes (they aren't all dead afterall!). Beans out the front and I've recently planted out some seedlings I propagated myself (Leeks, cabbage and cauliflower). We'll see how they go!.
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So this year has begun in earnest. It's already my week 3 of uni, and on Thursday I get to go out to Uni High and student teach it up. There's a lot of reading. So much reading. And so much of it is EXACTLY THE SAME.....

But still. I'm acheiving one concrete thing. I'm walking into uni every day (3 days a week so far), and walking home again. That equates to about 9km each uni day, so I'm happy with that. I want to keep it up when rounds start so that I'm also walking to uni high... That means on a normal week, 36km of walking. That's a pretty tidy sum. More when block placements start up after anzac day.

Assessment insanity begins in about 2 weeks.

But it has not begun yet.

I knew it was going to be like this....

Oh, the garden still exists. And there are more tomatoes coming. My seeds I put in the propagation tray have sprouted, and need to be transplanted (job for Wednesday evening I think!).

Other aspects of life roll on as they do.... There's no shortage of things going on. It's tiring, but I like it.
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Got back from the beach on Friday, and (thanks Molly and Cat) everything is pretty hunky dory. I think I've managed to massacre all the propagation plants I was hoping to plant out in the next couple of months, a few newbie mistakes.... But live and learn! I have plenty of spare seeds anyway, they come in packs with hundreds of seeds so I can try again soon.

Newly planted beans, beetroot and basil are all going swimmingly. Must be a letter B thing I've got going on.....


Not much going on today. I found out that potassium is good for beans (which I didn't know) so I gave our butter beans out the back a fistfull of potash.... I dug up the second ornamental spinifex bush thing up the front, freeing up a small area of dirt (2m by about .8m in all I think). It was fun. I like destruction.


Well, there's some re-sowing to do come Feb.... But I've got a better idea of what I'm doing now, so hopefully we'll get better results. I'll be re-sowing most of the vegetables, so yay! I've also now opened up that space in the front.... Rosmary bushes.... Yeah.
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Today was a simple planting day, or so I thought....


We ate our first tomato today - a single cherry tomato on one of the bushes that was ripe. It was good! That is all. Otherwise things aren't dead.... I think I can see some eggplants and capsicums starting, and we're definitely about to get butter beans round 2.... Basil seeds are definitely not dead too, which is nice. Next phase: Rosemary....


I planted out root vegetables today using our propagation tray mostly. Planted beetroot, parsnip, turnip, kholrabi and Sweedes. All supposed to be pretty hardy - should make good replacements for summer crops. Beetroot were direct to the pot they'll live in, the rest were in propagation trays. I also emptied the bottom layer of the work farm, always a fun job. But the beetroot seeds are going to find themselves in probably the richest soil we've ever put together....


Not much really. Maintenence period. I've planted everything I want to plant this month, the idea is that will see us through to winter with winter vegetables. Unless I get inspired again... Of course if any of the sowing fails there'll be more to do in Feb, but I've got lots of spare seeds. Need more dirt, I've got some plans for rocket and other lettuce varieties in vertical growing bag things, but I need more dirt to do it.... Dirt dirt dirt.... yay!

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Not much to say. The water's been good for some plants, not so good for others.... Generally things are unchanged. Everything's a little bigger, some plants are saying "NO MORE WATER FOR A BIT PLEASE..." and others don't give a rats one way or the other. There are a couple of things happening with the seeds sown earlier in the week - a bunch of them are sprouting, although I quickly realised I have no idea what's what...  But that's okay! I think the stuff that's agressively sprouted is cabbage.... I'll find out when they're a bit bigger I guess. Newly planted coriander is sprouting too. So yay!. The exciting news is that our basil appears to be sprouting left right and centre - who knows, maybe for once we can grow it without killing it.

I hear 2 opinions on basil:
1) It's easy to grow and basically unkillable, or
2)It's delicate and snails eat it within 3 seconds of it emerging into existence.

Our experience is unfortunately in line with the second....

I didn't water. I haven't watered in days, there's plenty of it about. What I did do was plant out more seeds. I ripped out the bean plants in the front (ave atque vale beans!), and spread compost over the site again. Not just any compost but our "Bokashi" compost. It had been burried for about 4 weeks after its time in the fermentation bucket. So it's ready. It was thick, a bit smelly and generally pretty soil like, so win there!. I then sowed new beans into the front. A combination of Scarlet Climbers and bush beans. We'll see how they go!.

I also planted a couple of other new seeds, cauliflower and brocolli. Theyr'e in the tray out the back, should be good.

More planting. Root vegetables this time. Beetroot, turnip and some other stuff.... I forget. Anyway that happens before we go away next week. So yay! winter seed sowing is just about done. Go garden!
shamo: (Default)

Everything is pretty dandy. There's more tomatoes coming now, nearly 20 all together, and the existing ones are getting larger and larger whichis good.
The transplanted silverbeet is looking a little tired, but it'll pick up in this wet, I hope....
What's more exciting is the current state of the zucchini's, with things starting to happen there,and some fruits starting on the stems.
Our capsicum's are starting to flower too.
Our broad-beans out the back are flowering again, so hopefully we'll get another crop off them soonish, and with a little luck it'll be a bit bigger than last time...
Other stuff is pretty much unchanged, I'm a bit worried that we've planted a bit too densely for our root vegetables especially. Root vegetables aren't the biggest fans of containers to begin with.... But they're also very very hardy, so transplanted them here and there hasn't caused any issues.

Planted new seeds for some new crops: Leeks, Cabbages and Celery.
Also planted some new herbs: New basil seeds (please let them work for a change, pretty please!), and coriander. If the gods smile on us, we'll have them up pretty fast.

Plant out the next batch! I think it happens in about 4 days.... Can't remember, but I've written it down somewhere.

I've also got a big shovel so we can dig out the stupid spinifex/grass bushes out the front and replace them with something useful. That'll be hard yakka, but once they're gone we'll have room for something substantial if we want it. Partly shaded area, with good afternoon sun.... we'll see what we can come up with for it. The soil will probably need some work before it's ready though....

shamo: (Shado)
So, in light of a recent new years resolution I'm going to track my gardening activities here. Feel free to heap praise on my efforts, also if it sounds like my activities are going to kill something, feel free to speak up!.

I'm going to format this thus: A quick update giving the overall state of play of the plants, an outline of my activities for the day and a note about future plans:


Looking over the pots things are looking reasonable:

We've got about 14 tomatoes coming, all very green and quite small at this stage, but that will improve.
We have butter beans out the front, that I think have now done their dash.... Time to replace them with something!.
Zucchini's are flowering a lot, so hopefully we'll see some fruit soon.
Capsicums look healthy, one of the containers of chillis looks about dead, but that's okay, there's plenty more.
Cucumbers, carrots and onions all look pretty stable to me.

Our worm farm looks like it's about ready to have the bottom tray rotated again, which means MORE FERTILISER! (not really caps worthy, but I'm excited), which would be a good idea. Haven't given the plants that kind of feed for a while. Just worm juice weekly....

Today I got something out of the way, I finally transplanted the silverbeet. We had 6 plants growing in a foam veggie box, and they were a bit cramped. The soil in the box was also too shallow, so I topped it up. We now have 3 silverbeet in a round pot and 3 in the original container. See if that prompts some more growth.
I watered them in and gave them some worm juice to keep them happy/alive. Also gave everything a water, so that should keep things ticking along.

The plan is to start planting out some of the winter things in the next couple of weeks. We're going to grow from seed this time, so we're giving ourselves a chance to propagate and then plant into containers. We'll see how it all goes....

shamo: (Default)
I have had a splendid weekend.

Utterly splendid.

We had a night at the Langham Hotel on Southbank (with a random upgrade from a Club Room to the Corner Spa Suite). Saw Thyestes (brilliant piece of theatre, not event appropriate, but still brilliant theatre (more on this in a later post... but have a quick look here for an idea:

So yes, fun, frivolity and opulence.

Very spoilt, and very lucky.

I'll see many of you Friday!
shamo: (Default)
I haven't done one of these in a while. So here's the story of 2010 so far:

At the beginning of 2010 I started to strategise a pathway into drama teaching, which I decided last year sometime was the way for me to go. So I flicked through university websites, last year I had gone to look at what's actually involved in doing a Dip Ed. and what you need to have done to qualify for various teaching methods etc.... I discovered that I was short some drama and theatre subjects, the VIT and universities weren't interested in practical experience, it had to be a formal qualification.

So, thought I, I need to do a Grad Certificates worth of study in the field - enough to qualify for a 'minor' in drama/theatre studies alongside my major in Classical studies. So, off I went. Scouring for somewhere I could do such a course. Melbourne was being all "Melbourne Modeled", so it was useless to me. Deakin and Monash both had drama/theatre schools - but they were all either undergrad or full Masters programs. So I settled on La Trobe. I got everything in the pipeline, and asked them about what was involved, when forms had to be in etc....

The answer I got was that I'd be fine to get in. They also gave me semester dates, from which I deduced Semester 1 would be impossible what with the wedding and all the followed. Turns out I DEFINITELY made the right decision given dad's passing 6 and a half weeks after I was married.

So I held off and applied for semester 2 at the absolute last minute. I started this week. I am doing:

Processed based performance
Shakespeare in Performance
3rd year Production

Which is grand. So basically I have no lectures, all my classes are workshops/rehearsals. I've got Shayne to carpool in with each morning I'm at uni, and I'll be in a show at the start of October.

So.... where's the downside? I'm going to have to quit the playground. Which is unfortunate, but it's going to be necessary for me to see this through. I couldn't work it next year anyway, as I'll be doing a Dip Ed. And I'm pretty sure study like that and a quasi-full-time job do not mix. So that's that then....

All things being equal, by the end of summer semester I'll have completed the grad cert, and I can start a Dip Ed. - possibly back at Melbourne - and I'll have started on my merry way. I'll do classical studies and drama, and be the coolest teacher in the universe.

Let's see what the future holds! It's good to be underway again. I feel like I've stood still for too long - career wise that is. Life has bounded ahead in most other departments. But jobs stuff has stagnated.
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I still get this odd feeling from time to time that I am missing a conversational companion. It has been made more acute because much of the conversation of recent times has been on the topics of soccer and Australian Politics.

You see, Julia Gillard was a Victorian solicitor before she was a politician. This means my dad would have held an opinion on her, however ill-informed. Ergo, conversation would have been... And the world cup? Well we always talked about the world cup when it was on.... As inane as I may have labelled such conversations in the past, I miss them.

That's the reality of the situation. And there's not much I can do about it.
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I spent this evening writing a grant application to the City of Yarra to fund a "edible garden" project at Cubbies.

It asks:

What are the aims of this project.

I wanted to write:

We want to get kids to grow their own food because gardening is fun and educational, and research (and common sense) shows that kids that have more fun and are smarter are less likely to go to jail, do drugs, commit suicide, torture people, mug old ladies, kill kittens or commit genocide later in life.

what I wrote was something like:

This project aims to engage youth in a positive and educational activity that will engender a sense of empowerment and self-reliance, while strengthening social networks and confidence.

Or something. I actually can't remember

EDIT: I found the text:

The Cubbies Garden Project will:
• encourage young people and children to participate in a positive and healthy activity.
• foster a sense of independence and control in young people by allowing them to design their own garden and control their own space
• equip children and young people with skills and provide education about sustainability, health and horticulture.
• increase the capacity of Cubbies in the long term, opening up a whole new kind of activity for young people to enjoy in the playground for years to come.

I like the first one better. The grant-maker would probably disagree....
shamo: (Default)
  • Hot Poppy Breakfast
  • Watch DVDs and fold programs
  • Go check on the bowls club
  • Wait for florist to drop off button holes at home
  • Get married
  • Take photos
  • Get a rickshaw to the bowls club
  • Dance, eat and be merry
  • Go to the Hilton at Melbourne Airport

Today Good!!!


Mar. 16th, 2010 10:21 pm
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It is done )


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