Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Count your blessings

After the birth of Mr Miracle, I developed a chronic inflammatory disease that gives me a fair amount of grief, on most days. Just recently I liked a support group for it on Facebook because, you know, I like support and no one ever understands what you're dealing with until they've been through it themselves. I was hoping to get some advice on possible treatments and an insight into the positive ways other people deal with chronic pain. Instead I got more grief than I could handle. Lots of people chronicling their symptoms and 'woe is me-ing'. It made me feel worse rather than better so I unliked the page and left all those poor people to wallow in their own misery.

What the experience with the page did do was remind me that the best way to look forward is to count your blessings and feel positive about the future. So with that in mind I'm counting down my blessings for the Old Year before looking forward to the possibilities and adventures of the 2014.

10 Favourite Photos from 2013
Taking photos is one of my favourite things but due to some equipment breakdowns and accidents I haven't done enough of it this year. Thanks to the beautiful new lens Geoff gave me for Christmas, I'm getting back to my 365 next year.

Best photo bomb

9 Happenings that gave me Great Joy
  • The phone call - see number 1 below ;-)
  • Sophie's graduation
  • Anna & Andrew's wedding celebration. One of my dearest friends got married. I love that she is loved.   
  • We went to Dunedin and caught up with my amazing sister in law Kasey & multi talented niece Erica. Their house always feels like home.
  • North Warrnambool Eagles won the A Grade netball premiership after just clawing their way into the top 5. I've watched the Hampden GF for 20 years. It was so much fun to have my girls playing and to be part of a fairytale sporting outcome.
  • Taine's school report - excellent behavior and attitude in EVERYTHING.
  • Mitchell Wills got a place in his chosen Performing Arts course. I'm so proud of him for following his dream.
  • Sara Bolch got a fabulous ATAR (along with countless other well deserved accolades). Proof that hard work pays and resilience is rewarded.
  • Geoff and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary - that's 12.5 more years than most people predicted when we got married ;-) This man has changed my life in so many positive ways.

8 Awesome Travel Moments

  • New Years Day at the Grand Canyon
  • Disneyland ( I didn't really like Disneyland but it was awesome to find that out!)
  • Cycling around Strahan, Tas.
  • Snorkelling on the GBR
  • Finally getting some good friends to NZ with us and staying in a magnificent apartment in Queenstown, overlooking the Remarkables and Lake Wakitipu.
  • The Lawrence Daffodil Festival - what a bizarre stumble upon.
  • Cruising down the Gordon River.
  • Climbing the Stanley Nut.

7 Things that Improved My Life
  • A king sized bed. Should have bought one 30 years ago. 
  • Kerry Boyden - colleague, neighbour, friend. She's had my back all year.
  • The decision to save and spend on plane tickets and to take every travel opportunity we could. Our bank account is empty but my bucket list is looking more achievable as a result.
  • Finally working out that you can't change the way people think (even when they are clearly wrong and you want better for them!). This helped me survive the election and several other whacko decisions that people I like have made this year.
  • I exchanged fried food for red wine = life balance.
  • Dr De Toit managed to unfreeze my shoulder after many of his colleagues had (expensively and painfully) failed.
  • We bought a new car. Spending money is just an emotional hurdle and well worth the luxury of leg room and good suspension!

6 - Favourite TV series on the iPad. 

This category replaces what should be 'Favourite books' but this year I discovered the relief of filling my insomniac nights with video pulp fiction. I promise to get back to the printed word next year.
  • Friday Night Lights-  I watched 5 whole seasons, one after the other. I was starting to channel Tammy Taylor and my heart still pines for Tim Riggins. I can’t believe they actually called it quits on the series and I'll never know what happened to them all.
  • Game of Thrones – all the way from King's Landing to the Red Wedding and suddenly Jon Snow was competing for a place in my heart with Tim! Can’t wait for series 4.
  • Downton Abbey – Oh how I cried when Sybil died. Seriously, this show made me think about the whole concept of social class and how much it still exists. And how ridiculous, pretentious and obnoxious it is.
  • Broadchurch – I don’t usually like murder mysteries but this was a beauty. I should have seen the end coming but I didn’t.
  • The Time of Our Lives - Made in Melbourne and every character is identifiable with someone I know.
  • Orange is the New Black – this one will see me into the new year.

5 - Personal achievements
  • I was the Acting Principal for nearly a term and I survived and so did the school. While I learnt that I was capable of doing the job, I also gained enormous respect for my boss. Running a school is a complicated, 24/7, mostly thankless job. The experience also reiterated for me that I don’t want to be a Principal. You just don't get enough time to spend with kids.
  • I managed (just barely) to maintain this blog. Since I can't be a vampire I'm really passionate about immortalising my thoughts by laying down a digital record of my existence. I'm not sure if it's an egotistical thing or a fear of being forgotten thing. Whatever, I like the idea that my great grandchildren might find a record of this some day.
  • Following on from the previous point, my post about skin cancer was read online by 1600 people and published in three newspapers. I was overwhelmed and gratified by the feedback I got from so many sources and I'm proud that people have told me they'll be more careful with their kids' skin now.
  • I learnt the Cup Song - harder than you think for the rhythmically challenged
  • I presented at two face to face conferences and three online. I'm terrified by public speaking but I feel great once it's done!
4 - Firsts
  • We ate plums from our own tree.
  • Taine joined the cricket team, swam 50 metres and kicked a goal in footy 
  • I went snorkeling 
  • I completed my first fun run. Actually, it was just a brisk walk but I got up very early to do it, I made the whole distance and I wasn't last.


3 - Group successes

  • I coached the Deakin Sharks U/13s this year and they didn’t win a single game. Nor did they ever give up. Not once. They had fun and I had fun. They listened and trained hard and improved every single week. The U/13 team is indicative of the whole club. Lots of great volunteers working hard to provide local sporting opportunities for our kids. Bring on the shuffles in 2014!
  • The cast and crew of Oliver. What a great show. I’m always blown away by the learning that happens through a school production. I’m also staggered by the voluntary effort put in by the staff production team. This year was no exception. I’m blessed to work with such amazing kids, staff and parents. Lyle Russell must never retire!
  • The student leadership kids at school were fantastic this year. Their biggest coup; running a school formal. It takes real guts to not only lead but to be the first followers so kudos to Stacey and Charm and Brad for getting the event off the ground and good on you to the kids who bravely turned up and had a great, drug and alcohol free good time.

2 - Best Pieces of Feedback. 
  • From a student - "Please don't die before I get married because I really want you to be at my wedding!' - We'll do our best & you can write those place cards in ink ;-) 
  • From a parent - 'Thank you for saving my child's life'. Sometimes we make more of a difference than just teaching a kid to read and it's a wonderful feeling to know that and to be acknowledged for it.

1 - Very Best Phone Call 

  • 'Mum, I'm pregnant………with twins!'