Sunshine in my shadows

Welcome to sunshine in my shadows. This blog is my space to share all the stuff that makes up my every day life. Family, friends, crafts, recipes, books and all the little things that add 'sunshine to my shadows'. We all have a sprinkling of sunshine and an equal sprinkling of shadows in our lives. Hopefully you will find more sunshine than shadows to read about here and on the days when shadows fall, know that the sunshine is peeking just around the corner!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

A busy week...

I just realised I haven't blogged for almost a week! Mostly because I haven't had anything terribly interesting to write about and I have never had the discipline to write every day no matter what. It's been a bit of a messy and busy week here this week.

My daughter kate suffers a debilitating anxiety disorder which results in her being unable to sit in a mainstream classroom. She studies at home via distance education. I have lost track of if it's her third or fourth year studying at home. It has not been an easy road, Kate really needs the discipline of being in a proper classroom and we have not been able to successfully recreate that at home. Technically I am her supervisor but now that she is 18 I think it's a bit of a moot point. Anyway we filled in her enrolment form this week and made sure the required documents were attached. Studying at home requires special authority from the education department. They require supporting evidence from treating doctor's etc. We go through the tedious paperwork and appointments each year.

We shopped for stationery and supplies so she is almost set to begin her school year. Undoubtedly there will be text books to buy once we receive her booklist. This year Kate is continuing Indonesian and has added Accounting to her subject selection. Lord help us if she needs assistance with anything. I don't speak Indonesian and I am a dummy when it comes to anything remotely mathematical! I do admire Kate's persistence as she continues the long journey to complete her VCE. Since she has only been studying part time she still has another year to go yet. If not for her health problems she would have completed High school at least a year ago. Bravo my baby girl. I am so proud of you for not giving up!

It was also book collection time for my son's school books this week. Then a check of his uniforms. I thought we might get away with last years uniform if I just let the hem of his trousers down but alas he has grown so much he is going to need the next size sooner rather than later. He has apparently expanded in the waist as well as growing a good few inches in height! We still have to find a few items that will be used from last year like his calculator. I am hoping they will be easy to find! Sam returns to school rather late, he doesn't go back until 7th Febuary! Good grief that is getting well into the year!

I also had a doctors visit this week, just one of my regular check ups. I was diagnosed with diabetes about a year ago and I see my G.P. regularly so he can keep a check on my blood sugars, my weight and general health. He plans to send me to a Diabetes educator and a dietician as I need to lose a large amount of weight.
In fact roughly half my bodyweight would see me within my healthy weight range. This is going to be a real challenge for me as I have battled obesity since I was in my teens.I managed to lose about 8 kilos in 2010 but I still have a terrible sweet tooth and a large appetite!

I also went off to visit the optometrist this week on my doctor's advice. I had been putting it off and it has been about five years since my last check up so I was well overdue! Hardly surprising to find I do need new reading glasses. All I have to do now is remember to wear them! I haven't actually ordered them yet as the cat is off to the vet next week to have teeth out. My budget just won't allow for new glasses and a vet bill at the same time.

I am still yet to complete the packing of my stuff to be moved to our new home. It's a big job that I keep putting off but the time has come! Over the next month I plan to finish the packing so I can get on with cleaning and preparing my house for sale. I am taking the opportunity to have a good sort and get rid of clutter and unwanted items. The local Salvos shop should do quite well. When you are combining two households there are just so many things you do not need two of!

So that's what has been happening in my pretty ordinary life this week. Mostly sunshine I am pleased to say.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows
***photo courtesy of:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

the probable future...

The probable future by Alice Hoffman is possibly best described as a haunting story. It will stay with you long after the final page is turned. The story is based around three generations of the Sparrow family. Each woman in the Sparrow family inherits a magical gift when they turn thirteen. The story is part magic, part history, part romance, part tragedy. Intertwined is a very cleverly written study of the complexities of human relationships, especially those of family and also those who live in small towns.

Stella is the youngest member of the Sparrow family and on her thirteenth birthday discovers her gift. She can see the probable future of people around her. Stella sees when and how people will die. Asking her charming but irresponsible father to intervene to prevent a young woman being murdered results in her father becoming a suspect.

Stella and her mother Jenny end up back in the family home with grandmother Elinor.We see the struggle between each of the generations of women as they come to terms with love, loss, dreams, family history and each other. I'm not going to spoil it by telling you more. Just go out and read it for yourself. A guaranteed good read!
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The BEST news.....

I am so relieved and delighted today I can barely find words to express how I really feel. My partner, Peter has been battling throat cancer for the last several months. His cancer was in a position too delicately placed for surgery to be an option and was quite advanced. This left options of no treatment at all or a treatment regime of chemotherapy and almost deadly doses of radiation over a period of months.
He chose to undergo the rigourous regime of daily radiotherapy with chemotherapy added in at intervals.
Anybody who knows someone with cancer will know what it takes out of the body both physically and mentally. It is a cruel disease and the treatment is almost as bad.

Anyway today was D day, his review visit with the oncologist to receive his results post treatment.
He was given the all clear. Of course there will be further check ups down the track but for now we can move forward with a positive outlook on the future.
Words really don't express the relief I feel.
I am so grateful to my friends, family and others who have been supportive and offered encouragement on this rollercoaster ride we have just lived through.
The sun is shining in every corner of my world today, it has chased the shadows away!
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

**photograph my own

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The best laid plans...

We still have a friend of my daughter staying with us at present. We had hoped to take our guest for a drive along The Great Ocean Road sometime over the next few days. Unfortunately this is now impossible due to road closures. The huge amounts of rain we have had in Victoria caused landslides along parts of the Great Ocean Road leaving large sections of it unsafe and impassable. The road has been closed for an indefinite time. I am disappointed that we will not be able to show Li one of the loveliest parts of our country before she returns to the States.

We took an alternative day trip today and visited the Melbourne zoo. We being my partner Peter, my son Sam, Li and myself. Unfortunately Kate's anxiety gained the better of her today and she opted to remain at home. We had a great time although it was very, very HOT and we all decided to come home before seeing every exhibit. I don't remember EVER having left the zoo without seeing all the animals before!

We saw both the baby elephants today who were as adorable as expected. We also saw tiger cubs who were behaving in a typical cat like fashion and sleeping! The cutest baby of all was the baby orangutan who was so tiny and the sweetest thing! His protective mum was lying with him cuddled close. It was just adorable to see all the babies but I think the gorillas are still my favourite animals. The zoos breeding programs seem to be doing well. It has been a number of years since I visited the zoo and I saw many changes. Todays visit really did bring sunshine to my shadows, I had forgotten what a wonderful day out it makes.
Wishing you sunshine in your shadows
***photos  my own

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where did Summer go?

One might be forgiven for thinking it was the middle of Winter here in Geelong today. The rain has barely stopped since yesterday. We usually have a beautiful view from our place right over Corio Bay and on a fine day can often see as far as Melbourne and the other side of Port Philip Bay. Today the houses of the nearest suburb, a mere kilometre away is barely visible due to the rain.

I am not complaining however, the Eastern States of Australia are currently suffering the most devastating floods in many, many years. Whole towns have been literally washed away and in Queensland, the centre of Brisbane city and many suburbs, is in parts under water. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones (the death toll is expected to rise) and those who have lost their homes, pets and posessions. The images on TV and the internet show absolutely terrifying and horrific damage and loss. It is still raining in many places with rivers yet to reach their expected peak. The impact of the damage will be lifelong for many and it is difficult for me to imagine how you begin to clean up such a mess. The task will be massive and take a very long time. The heartache caused by these floods will be overwhelming. My heart is heavy and full of sorrow for my fellow Australians who are experiencing the full force of mother nature at her fiercest.
More shadows than sunshine today but wishing you sunshine in your shadows sooner rather than later

**photos my own looking over Corio Bay

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Saving Max...

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten first attracted my interest when I read a review in "Good Reading" magazine. The reason it caught my eye was because one of the main character's, Max, has Asperger's syndrome. I have two children on the autism spectrum so am always interested to see how characters with autism are portrayed in books.

The book kept me interested from start to finish and whilst some of the plot seemed a little unrealistic to me on the whole this was an excellent book and I would highly reccomend it as a riveting read. I have asked myself if the book would have been so riveting if my own children did not have autism and I believe the plot still holds as a fabulous read.

The basis of the story is how far will a mother of a child with autism go to protect her son when he is accused of murder? The plot contains enough twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages with baited breath to find out the end result. I'm not going to spoil the book by sharing the ending here but I will say that there were totally unexpected elements in the plot line that kept me guessing to the very end.

I was not surprised to read that Antoinette van Heugten has a child with autism as I felt she did a good job of portraying some of the characteristics of a child on the autism spectrum. If you choose to chase up "Saving max" I think you will enjoy it although part of the plot does cover some distressing and disturbing areas of human behaviour.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows and happy reading

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The security of stuff!

I'm in the process of packing up all my wordly goods and chattels, and those of my two children. I have barely begun and already am overwhelmed by the amount of STUFF we have managed to hold on to and collect over the 18 years we have lived in our house. I have always been a bit of a hoarder myself but have tried to balance this with regular culling of unused, unwanted and disliked items and outgrown clothing.  We STILL have mountains of STUFF between us!

To a degree I believe we hang on to items long after we might have given them away for reasons of security. How often have you heard someone say "but I might need it one day". I have been guilty of this more than once but am committed to having a serious and severe cull of our belongings before this move. I know without looking my wardrobe is full of clothes I have not worn in over a year, possibly 5 years! It is time for a fresh new start and they are going to GO! I have shelves in cupcoards that hold Lord knows what, items that were stashed away years ago and have never seen the light of day since.

Culling half a lifetime of belongings is an anxiety provoking process! I have struggled as a single mum for the last several years. I know I have held on to many belongings 'just in case'. The fear that should I give away an item that has remained unused in a cupboard for years, I would immediately find need for it and not have the resources to buy another is very strong. When you have been financially poor most of your life it builds in a certain insecurity that is very hard to shake. I am however not quite as addicted to things anymore. Things have little value when compared to the truly important in life. Perhaps as we age it gives us a different perspective.

As overwhelming as sorting, culling and packing our belongings is going to be I am truly looking forward to a completely new and fresh start in our new home, with my beloved partner. I am ready to leave all baggage from the past behind and then some! Making a concious decision to do so is remarkably freeing and leaves me light of heart and spirit and cheerfully looking forward to building a bright new future.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Monday, January 3, 2011

We're all going to the zoo....

Well actually we went yesterday but I was too worn out to post by the time we came home. My partner played chauffeur and took my daughter's friend Li and myself to the Werribee Open Range zoo. My daughter was not feeling well and stayed at home. It was a first visit for all of us and I enjoyed it a lot. I think I still love the Melbourne zoo better but maybe that is because I adore the elephants and gorillas, which they did not have at Werribee. Apparently they have gorillas coming soon, we saw the excavations of a new enclosure earmarked for them.

We had a lovely day and enjoyed the bus trip around the larger herbivores including bison, zebras, hippo and giraffes. The highlight of the bus trip was seeing the rhinoceros mating! This sight quickly turned a bus load of adults into giggling children and was observed with great interest by the youngsters on board. I thought perhaps we were quite privileged to witness the mating of this intimidating and formidable endangered species.

After our bus trip we wandered around the exhibits of smaller animals and carnivores.
The meerkats were another popular exhibit and seemed as curious about people as people were about them. They are dear looking little creatures and I had to stop myself thinking what a wonderful pet they would make. Many endangered species are endangered due to being taken from the wild to be sold as exotic pets.

I always have mixed feelings about animals in zoos, the conservation value versus the cruelty of having wild animals kept in enclosures that are many times smaller than their natural territory in the wild. The cheetah at the zoo paced up and down and I couldn't help but wonder if he had ever known the joy of running at his full stride and top speed. Nonetheless all the animals looked well cared for and seemed healthy looking.

It isn't a cheap day out visiting the zoo but well worth the cost.(I imagine it IS very expensive to run a zoo and keep the animals happy and healthy) It was a wonderful day out, I learned a lot of things about various animals and I would definately go again. We all came home happy if a little sunburned despite our hats. (mental note to remember sunscreen next time)
wishing you sunshine in your shadows
* If you would like more information about any of our fabulous zoos here is a link

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The year ahead...

New Year's Eve has come and gone. I am not really one to make resolutions for the New year but I do tend to reflect on the year past and consider what things I might focus on or change in the coming 12 months.
This year's list consists of the following:
  • continue to keep my diabetes under control with diet and exercise
  • try to lose some more weight (I lost a small but significant 8 kilos in 2010)
  • spend as much time as possible with my loved ones
  • practice writing more, search out local writing groups
  • relax more
  • expand the variety of books I read
  • read more
  • cook more
Whether you make resolutions or simply reflect on your life and make mental notes about things you would like to do in the New Year I wish you success.
Also wishing you sunshine in your shadows