Sunday, 6 December 2009

my weekend

consisted of this:

Friday night - Work Xmas party - was a fancy dress party (1950's) - and I WON! Not so good was the fact that I left my prize in the cab *doh*. Party was excellent and I feel like I have cemented some friendships there. I am really loving my workplace. Drank a lot of wine (well what else do you do at these things) and played some lawn bowls. I dressed up as Stepford wife - thanks to Savers of course!

Saturday morning began quite slowly lol, with some soda water and dry toast and then off at up to birthday party no 1. A fairy party for a 3yo. Survived that by drinking ginger beer and eating various party treats. Off home for a quick change into super hero costumes and then onto birthday party no 2; a batman party. With a brief stop over at one of the local coffee shops for a skinny latte take away (for me). Make sure that lolly bags are given to us due to the massive consumption of sugar throughout the day already and then drive to our local fruit and vegie shop. This shop is an amazing, but only recent find. We've been living in our area for more than 4 years and it was only when I was discussing our area with a work colleague that lives close by that I was made aware of it. You can buy just about anything in there (as long as it is grown in Australia and is in season) and it is delicious - the guy that owns it, works in the shop and he encourages people to try the food before buying it to make sure they like it. He gave me a strawberry yesterday and my goodness, it was the sweetest little strawberry I have ever had! They don't do plastic bags there, it is either bring your own or get a box. And the icing on the cake is the fact that they welcome the children into the store - my children walked in yesterday in their dress ups - with no shoes on - sugared up to the hilt. A recipe for disaster in normal circumstances.. but the employees instantly engaged with them and encouraged them to look, shop and purchase their own fruit. Brilliant little shop: isn't it just wonderful when you find a little shop like that?

Saturday night was shared with our neighbours - I had a beer and it instantly made me feel better - and we sat around in the front yard for most of the night.

Sunday - woken up around 9am (ah, pleasure to sleep in) and breakfast in bed (sunday special in this house, always pancakes of some description) followed by a trip to a shopping centre to do the fortnightly shop. A nice lazy day (well we mowed the lawn, washed the car and did general household stuff).

Now back to work tomorrow. Oh and I guess start to think about XMAS eeeeek.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

out of retirement

Hello all,

Long time between updates... I was brought back by 2 comments from lovely Jenn and Melissa. I thought I would briefly update.

So it is now 11 months post student life. I have changed jobs - I am now working at a major public hospital - initially in rehab and now over in acute (gen med). Such a different world going from rehab to acute. Because people are medically unstable, it isn't always possible to assess and have contact with patients. In my last rehab position (within the same hospital) I would set my own timetable, work within a team -but leave hospital grounds and visit people within their own homes. Now, I'm based with a tight team of colleauges, as well as the ward staff (interns, nurses and other allied health) and my patients are there becuase they are unwell - and their medical needs can be unpredictable. And some die.

To say I think this will be a challenge is an understatement. But I think I have it in me and I do love the pace of the hospital environment.

I cant' remember if I mentioned this in previous posts, but J commenced a full time teaching position this year (ongoing too!) and he is going great guns. He has been asked to teach year 12 English next year - which means they obviously think he is capable - so he is pretty chuffed about that.

Our house is pretty much cruising along at the moment, we've all just adjusted to our lives and now studying is like a distant memory for us. Just yesterday during a break, I was discussing with fellow workers that this was only my 11th month out ... which brought about all the questions about the last few years of studying, thereby forcing me to reflect upon this time. Looking back, I don't even know how I got through those last months (never mind the last years) . We are still 'enjoying' our newfound financial freedom (we just came back from a trip to the Gold Coast) and we have a little savings - working it up to purchase something big (ie - house/investment).

Life is pretty good here.

I'll try to come back again soon to update. My life is a lot less chaotic now than it was my last blog update.

Friday, 22 May 2009

why I'm absent

There are lots of reasons - general busy work life, the juggle between parenting etc.

But there is another reason. My job requires me to give 120 per cent everyday. I am dealing with some of the most complex cases that most of my team have ever seen - I thrive in this type of workplace - I feel like my skills are increasing at a rapid rate and I am doing the best job that I can.

But when I come home - I am spent. I.just.can't.give.anymore. What I dream of doing is coming home, burying myself into a little cocoon, silent and numb. But that just isn't possible, is it? Don't get me wrong, I am not bringing my work home with me, I've never had any difficulties with that - Its like I don't have any feelings left - any empathy left - I've given so much throughout the day that I just feel that I need to replenish at night.

I thought I was alone with this in that I'm good at what I do, but I will not last long kinda way - but speaking with the other student who now works with me - she feels exactly the same way. Though slightly different because she has no children and lives alone so can be alone with herself.

I had a big heart to heart with my old thesis supervisor - who has morphed into a good friend/mentor and processed some of this stuff with her. She remembered feeling much the same way. While she had me there on the phone, she then used the opportunity to suggest that we should look at publishing an article about my findings. Thats pretty exciting!

I'll be back later to talk about the graduation ceremony/party weekend. It was amazing.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

the coming 3 days

today - I graduate. I have been invited to special drinks for sw honours students where they will present awards as well. I pick up my regalia at 5.30pm - drinks go from 6-7.30pm and then the ceremony starts at 8pm. There are nibbles afterwards. I am taking my mother, my stepfather, j and my children. Slightly nervous that the children will be exhausted and lose it somewhere during the ceremony, but I really want them to be there.

tomorrow - I am going out for dinner with some of my closest friends (incl some that are flying in just to celebrate with me).

saturday - J and I hold a massive party to say thank you to all of our friends who have supported us over the past 6-8 years.

Am I excited? So much so that I can't sleep, hence the 6am blogging.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


I know most of you might already know this from FB etc, but James got an ongoing teaching position which he starts on monday. Now for the non-teachers amongst us, getting an on-goinging teaching position in VIC is ridiculously hard (esp. for graduates). And after some tears earlier on in this year because he seemed to be unsuccesful in getting a number of contract positions, he goes and lands himself a bloody ONGOING position.

Is this really happening to us? I can't help but think, what is going to go wrong? (the pessimist that I am ; ) of course). Suddenly another whole new world has opened up to us.

I read a fascinating article in the paper today and I would love to share it with you, as it deftly combines both J's and my passion in one succinct article.

J's position is at one of "these" schools in a disadvantaged area where some children face extroidinary struggles to even get to school every day. Reading this article, I had to wipe tears away as I read about a single parent who had to make a choice to either pay rent or send his child on a camp. He chose to not pay rent this week. And make no mistake, this is not a singular occurance of someone who has no money budgeting skills. This is a combination of circumstance (in being left to raise children alone) and unemployment, which means having to depend soley on the absolute meagre amount that Centrelink provides. Without even going into specifics, families like this face uphill battles as they contend with limited resources (that Centrelink provides - way under the poverty line - another post perhaps?) in schools which are as the Mel uni professor likens to "shadows of their former selves" in this above article.

I've had direct experience of this. What pushed me into sw was my previous employment in a state primary school in a very well to do area, surrounded by private schools. This school had full support from a charity, had a fridge full of food to supply lunches for children who had none and provided a breakfast club every day, so that children could start the day on a full tummy. Now this isn't a secondary school, this was a primary school with children as young as 5. It always amazed me, that within 5kms of this school - obscenely large houses were being built and sold for millions and millions of dollars - while across the road one of Melbourne's most expensive private schools did a roaring trade (I'd heard that the uniform cost $1000 dollars ;) ) and here this school was, struggling for enrolments as the aspirational middle classes turned away from it in droves as it freely took in the housing commission children when no other school in the area would. Doesn't that last sentence just make you aghast. But reflect on your own practices, would you send your child to this school? Or your teenager to Debney Park (remembering that the next closest school is University high!!)?

I'd like to say that, yes I would do it. And when I was an employee at the above primary, I once argued with one of the teachers there who told me that education was the greatest gift you could give your child (explaining why she made the decision to send her children to the private school where uniforms cost 1k) and that public schools just didn't cut it. Quite a sombre statement from a teacher.

Now I just happen to agree with that statement; Education is one of the greatest gifts you can provide to your children. What I don't agree with is that quality education should be bought. Every one of our children are entitled to this gift and the funding process needs to be critically looked so education can be inclusive and quality, no matter whether you attend Melbourne Grammar or St Albans college.

One last comment. Living on Centrelink was an incredibly tough time for us. Yet, we had skills to manage, we spoke english, we were not sick nor disabled in anyway, we had family who were supportive and we had each other. Most importantly, we saw a light glimmering off into the distance which reminded us why we had made this decision. We were very fortunate.

Another article that may interest as well;

Sunday, 29 March 2009

eek. A long pause between posts

For anybody left reading (I bet not a lot of you lol) I've been thinking about updating for quite a while because, quite frankly, I have lots to tell! Everything is going so well - since I've last posted - I've done LOTS. So lets start;


Work has been going fantastically. I have now dropped down to 3 days a week (much more manageable in terms of balancing family life etc) and I have been asked to stay until August, working 3 days a week (ca$ual rates too). I've stopped stumbling 'Hi, I'm a stu.. social worker' and now my profession just rolls off my tongue naturally. Working until August really, really works for me - as it gives me 8 months to really ground myself - get some experience, network extensively - and then in a few months, start looking for a job that I want. There are some mighty good ones circulating atm too. I also really love who I work with - I love working within a multi-disciplinary team, especially one that works - cause apparently lots of them don't.


Home I can pretty much rave about. J has been working full time doing CRT work ($$$), so for the first time in six years - our household has EXHALED fully. We have been dutifully reporting every cent of income to Centrelink and for the past 2 fortnights our payments have been ZERO. A cause for celebration in this house, let me tell you. Apparently after a number of zero payments Centrelink will send a letter saying that they have cancelled any payments/entitlements - that will be when the real celebration will begin.

Little J & N are just going great guns at school/kinder/cc respectively. Little J has grabbed onto literacy and just totally run with it, we are shocked about how fast he is learning to read. He bounces out of bed every week day, excited and happy to be going to school. We are very happy. N is attending childcare 3 days per week (my work days) and then going to kinder 1 morning. Because childcare is so locked up around here, we have had to spread N's care across 2 centres - one across the road from my work! So now one day per week, N and I battle the crowds on the trains (ha, they can't beat me I bought a new pram just for this reason - attempt to defeat me at your peril), giggling and talking the whole way along - it feels kinda nice to know that my youngest baby is so close during my work day and as an added bonus, it forces me to finish on time or close to it as I don't want him to be there until 6pm at night. So far he loves it and is actually relishing the time spent with me. We both are.

I do have something else to add which is quite important, but thought it was deserving of it's own title.

Bogan Mobile

The lovely 'ol car (read: pile-o-shit) has been retired. Yes, you heard it right. Last week, we became the proud owners of a newish car, bought entirely with our savings (partially stimulated by K.Rudd). My children practically wept with joy at the amazing wonderful car that we now own. The car comes from a friend of a friend (highly regarded - especially with regard to the servicing and upkeep of the car). This time last year we would have NEVER imagined ourselves in this type of car; in fact I've been known to heckle at cars which are similar. But, after we were told about it - we looked at each other and went "YEAH baby!!" - J was sold on the 10 CD stacker (?!), while I melted when I saw the condition it was in, tinted windows, LPG conversion.

So what is it?
A freakin' Landrover. Yes, you read right. We live 6km away from the CBD of a large capital city and now we own a Landrover discovery (V8) - 7 seater.

And now the poor Ford/Holden/bogan car sits all forlorn in the driveway, with no number plates (removed by some cruel person in order to get a refund for remaining duration of the registration). Now it awaits a call to the wrecker, to remove and "wreck" this vehicle. As much as I have spoke badly of this car (or lawn mower - as it sounded in it's last days), it never once broke down on us in all the time we had it. Well, the breaks failed and most of the engine was held together with gaffa tape, but you know...

So now, a majestic bloody Landrover sits in our yard. Our neighbours marvelled, our friends have cooed and we And you will not believe the price that we paid for it..

So yes, life is pretty amazing right now. Next up on the list in our house is; graduation ceremony! Dinner at an amazing restaurant with some delicious friends and a huge party that we're throwing to say thank you to everybody that supported us and cheered us on through the years. A party that a number of guests are flying in for.

Off I go again, best get ready for the week. Hope everybody is going well, I might have to check up on all my fave blogs..

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I love them.

Wednesdays mean that I don't work. Normally right now I would be running around - showering and rushing to get on the 7.40 train. But today, I sit with my machine coffee (thanks Shel ;)) listening to the boys giggle uproariously as they negotiate their breakfast. No childcare for little N; so for the first time this year, he gets to help take J to school for drop off.

Ah. I just hope I can maintain this nice sense of balance. Wish me luck wont you?

Right, time for breakfast I suppose...have a lovely day.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Tagged by Melissa + update

The rules of the game: 1. Go to the section of your computer where you store all of your photos.
2. Select the 6th folder.
3. Select the 6th photo from that folder.
4. Post and explain about that picture.
5. Tag 6 other people

This photo is of my parents with N a couple of years ago when we took a trip to the snow for the day. Great idea!

Not around much as you can see. Work is stil incredibly challenging and busy. I love it (and I loved it even more last week when I got my first pay...!!). The workplace is honestly one of the best I have ever worked in. Teamwork just works at this place. The workload has been very challenging for me; not something a grad would normally undertake - but oh so good - so worthwhile, meaningful and so positive. It's starting to become second nature to describe myself as a sw, instead of student sw lol. This week coming is my last week at 4 day - I'm moving down to 3 days per week and I am really looking forward to it. I want to be home a little more with my boys and I think 3 days will be a really nice balance. My locum position has been extended for a large amount of time, so things are just cruising along nicely.

My partner has also been working (CRT work so v.rewarding financially) and he has 3 schools ringing him so he hasn't been out of work for the last few weeks.

We've been out looking at cars; so we can retire the 'ol bogan mobile as she is getting on a little bit. My oldest son has been excited beyond belief and begged us to go and have a look at car yards around us.. do you think he is excited, or what?

I have neglected the gym entirely for the past few weeks, but I've decided that tomorrow; it's back on - I feel so much better when I exercise; I'm getting daily headaches again - which had disappeared when I was doing the gym routine every day.

I made a snap decision today to book a flight to spend a weekend with my mum and sister for my sister's 50th birthday. So next friday my mum and I are flying up and I'm going to spend 48 hours with my mum and big sis. I'm really looking forward to it - I haven't seen my sister in years.

Ah, I can hear my children calling.. I must go. I've emailed my thesis to a few of you - I'd love to hear what you think...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

More info..

Sorry I really was blogging on the run yesterday! I was on my way to work. I've neglected this good old blog lately as real life has taken its toll.



As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, I received my mark on monday. Yesterday, I met with my gorgeous supervisor (gosh, I love her) to receive the hard copy of my thesis and the actual official markings etc. My thesis overall received a mark of 84 (two scores averaged), so clearly a H1. My honours mark overall was made up of my 4th year subjects averaged (worth 50%) and my thesis (50%) which equalled 80 - so just into the H1 arena. But pfft, I'm there and thats all that matters. The remarks about my thesis was simply mind blowing. On the train on the way home yesterday, I read my thesis again (spotted 3 editing errors oops) and went hmm it is pretty good, lol - perhaps these markers were on the money!! I will include the following comments; there were pages of them, but will just include the really special ones (to me):

"The thesis was a pleasure to read. It is thorough, authentic, sound and
comprehensive. The study makes a significant contribution to our knowledge
of this area, and especially the potential role of sw. I would encourage the
student to publish her work widely and present the material at relevant
conferences. The hosp sw special interest group of the AA SW, for example,
may be interested in a presentation of the findings". "The way the findings
are presented is very respectful of the participants and they are reported
in a way that is authentic. The use of quotations, stories and other
material about the experiences of these women is very effective" "The
conclusion is strong and these findings are significant. Well done". "The
study is excellently executed and the theoretical framework is well
justified" "The thesis tackles a difficult area, and does this with great
rigour. It is heartening to see the centrality of sw"

If anybody else is interested in reading the full actual thesis, it is massive. But I am happy to email if anybody really wants to have a read... I also have a small report that will work better as it is only 2 pages long!

Honestly, I had no idea that I would feel so immensely proud of this - this piece of work is my own, from inception to submission - I have had control of what is in there, how it looks, what it says - obviously without the amazing women that contributed it would be nothing - but I am still very proud of myself. Its a funny feeling. And that one of the markers has encouraged me to do something with the results feels so amazing. They believe the results are that powerful and the area so deserving. Wow.


Work is excellent, but oh-so-tiring. So much more tiring than when i was there as a student. There is no protected case load and nobody there that I can bounce ideas off. I am there mostly making decisions on the run and learning fast about managing up to 16 patients at once - it is a grade2/3 position so not a normal 1st job after graduation! I'm really seeing the beauty in having a year or two to be a graduate or grade 1 practitioner. Just the extra level of support would be really beneficial to me - still I'm surviving and flourishing even. I seem to work really well under pressure. I really, really enjoy working. I'm half-heartedly looking for something a bit more permanent - if something excellent comes along I will apply for it, but otherwise I'm really happy working where I am. The income is excellent, the team type atmosphere is fantastic, the work itself is really rewarding and the skills I'll come out with will really help to get me another job.


Little J has settled into school really well. He is bringing home his readers and talking about his schooling. He has some new friends (all girls) who he adores and his favourite class is art and computers. N is also going great guns - especially considering how much his life has ramped up this year, he is loving 3yo kinder - but really does appreciate the down days at home. Today at 3pm, he is yet to put on any clothes - he loves that type of freedom lol. We recently bought them a bunk bed and they are loving it and appreciating their personal space (they were sleeping together in a single bed, by choice!!). J is also starting more regular amounts of CRT work. Which is great for him and at the same time, he is putting together a research proposal that he will complete this year as part of his Masters (so back on the train ride again, but not me this time thank god!) and last night he was asking me for advice about the methodology - never thought I'd be one to give him academic advice! So apart from that, our household is healthy, happy and chugging along quite happily.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

my thesis

Very quickly - because I have to get ready for work.

I just wanted to share that I have received my thesis mark.

H1 (high distinction or A - the highest mark you can get). The mark for the thesis was so high that it pulled my overall honours mark up also to a H1. I'm graduating with first class honours.

I have never been more proud of my achievements. I'll come back and talk more once I have a little more time. But I thought a few of you here would be interested to know.