Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The bay at midnight by Diane Chamberlain

Her family's cottage on the New Jersey shore was a place of freedom and innocence for Julie Bauer—until her seventeen-year-old sister, Isabel, was murdered.

It's been more than forty years since that August night, but Julie's memories of her sister's death still shape her world. Now someone from her past is raising questions about what really happened that night. About Julie's own complicity. About a devastating secret her mother kept from them all. About the person who went to prison for Izzy's murder—and the person who didn't.

Faced with questions and armed with few answers, Julie must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the complex emotions that led to one unspeakable act of violence on the bay at midnight.

This is my favourite Diane Chamberlain book so far. The characters are really believable and very strong. Their emotions are very real too. The mystery of the story will leave you frantically turning pages until the very end and for me the ending was unexpected but very fitting. A highly recommended book overall.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Studying law externally

For today's Talk About Tuesday I thought I'd talk about how I study law and challenge myself academically and where I'd like to take my studies in the future. I study law externally (at home)and am pretty much able to study whenever I can. In a way I like this flexibility and its good in terms of allowing me to rest etc and take care of my health.

The downside of external study for me is staying on track with everything and staying motivated. I really need to be more organised and have better study habits but I have no idea how to do it. Any tips? More Talk About Tuesday can be found here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A letter to Sophie

Most Australians know Sophie Delezio but for those that don't I'll give you a quick recap. In 2003 on December 15th a car crashed into the childcare centre Sophie was at. She and another little girl (Molly Wood) were badly burned when the care caught fire. A letter to Sophie details Sophie's amazing journey and recovery from not only this accident but also a second accident Sophie was involved in (She was hit by a car at age 5).

Many people tell me I am courageous and I inspire them. I encourage everyone to read a letter to Sophie- in doing so you'll see what true courage is.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Grains of Gratitude........

This weeks list:

1.I am grateful that I wasn't badly hurt in my fall on Friday and that I am almost 100% recovered today.
2. For a good day at ten pin bowling with my highest score this year of 165.
3.For friends that understand even when I let them down.
4. For new & exciting opportunities that I will have in the coming week (including my first airplane trip).
5. For a productive homework day today.

What are you grateful for this week?

Another quote I like

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to the end, requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Special olympics

A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win.
All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. They all turned around and went back. Every one of them.
One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better."
All nine linked arms and walked across the finish line together.
Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing:
What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves.
What truly matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

Ps. Thanks for the prayers. I am doing okay today.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Prayer request

I write to you tonight asking for prayers. I am not doing well
physically and had a bad fall last night. I am bruised and hurting
all over from it. My pain is 8/10 right now. I am also very shaky
and dealing with some other physical and emotional issues that I
can't discuss here. Really need to find a counselor or something. I
have tons of homework to do but am struggling to be well enough.

The Obstacle...

The Obstacle in Our Path In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thought for the day

Thought for the night:

"No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness -- or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it."

Author Unknown

Monday, May 11, 2009

Smart Habits

I have become a fan of The Lazy Organiser in recent weeks. She created what she called SMART HABITS and I thought it was a really neat idea so I have decided i am going to do it. Here is a list of what I want to work on for now.
1. Study at least 2 hours each day
2. Keep my email inbox manageable
3. Get into a routine re sleep, study etc.

By posting about these goals here I become accountable to my blog readers and will hopefully achieve them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Grains of Gratitude........

This week I am grateful
1. For time spent with my family, especially my mum. Happy mother's day to all the mothers out there.
2. That my tutors and classmates understand when my health gets in the way of life.
3. For good books and the ability to help others when reading them.
4. For the ability to pick myself up and keep going when my world falls apart and for the friends who help me do it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Secret Life of Cee-cee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

I have just finished this book. It is the second Diane Chamberlain book I have read. The following is from Diane Chamberlain's website.

Twenty-eight years ago, a North Carolina governor's young, pregnant wife was kidnapped. Now, her remains have been found and a man charged with her murder. Only one person-CeeCee Wilkes-can refute the charges against him. But CeeCee disappeared years ago. . .

Eve Elliot is a successful therapist to troubled students, a loving wife, a mother deeply invested in her family. But her happiness is built on a lie. When she was a lonely, vulnerable young woman, a single decision made in innocence led to a dark night of unimaginable consequences. Now, forced to confront her past, she faces another terrible choice: reveal to her family that she is not who she seems, or allow a man to take the blame for a crime she knows he did not commit. If the choice affected only her life, Eve is certain she would do what is right. But though inaction means condemning an innocent man, it also means protecting her family from the mistakes of her past.

Corinne Elliot has always known she was different: the only redhead in a family of brunettes, the paralyzing shyness that contrasts with her sister's vivaciousness, the many fears-of highways, of bridges, of public spaces-that constrict her daily life. Still, with a new job possibility and a baby on the way, she's found some measure of happiness-until the day she turns on the television and finds her mother's image on screen.

Now, as the past explodes into the present, Corinne must confront the secrets she has always intuited, and find answers from the one person who knows the truth of what happened over two decades ago-CeeCee Wilkes.

I liked this book even more than I liked The Courage Tree. The characters are very believable and strong. I read this one very quickly as I was so sucked into the story that I couldn't not put the book down. I was very suprised by a twist in the ending and highly recommend the book.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

ms Readathon

I was excited to discover that adults can now do the ms readathon. I did it as a child and loved it so I joined again. For those of you that don't know the ms readathon rasies money for research into ms. By reading and collecting either a one off donation or a donation for each book read I will be helping out a really good cause.

Apparently I can be sponsored online (or those of you that know me can give me a donation in person or through the mail). I know economic times are tough but even 10 cents will help.

To donate please go to http://www.msreadathon.org.au/mycollect/

Thank you so much

Thought for the day

"A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes." Hugh Downs

"The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding your personality into the person you want to be. . . . Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others." Wilfred Peterson

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

update on lucky

I was asked to see the manager of the TAFE today as apparently the Art teacher complained about my conduct on Friday. I explained what happened and that this was not the first time we'd had a similar conversation (and my own teacher and class mates were able to back me up) and the manager decided that the Art teacher overreacted and that I was justified in what I said. I am quite relieved as they could have suspended me from TAFE over all this.

The edge

The edge

She feels like she’s drowning,
Lost and alone,
With nothing but grief and pain,
Just two steps from the edge.

She’s lost her smile,
In the depth of darkness,
But she’s not sure she cares anymore,
Too broken, in pieces.

Time passes too quickly for her to fully understand,
Exactly where she’s going,
Or where she’s been,
Wondering if she’ll ever learn to smile again?

Knowing that she must,
Be strong, have faith,
That tomorrow will be a better day,
One day she’ll come back from the edge

© Karen Peatt 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vasculitis Awareness Week

This week is Vasculitis awareness week. Since Vasculitis is one of the many medical conditions I deal with on a daily basis I thought I would write about it here.

What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases that feature inflammation of the blood vessels. The blood vessels of the body are referred to as the vascular system. The blood vessels are comprised of arteries that pass oxygen-rich blood to the tissues of the body and veins that return oxygen-depleted blood from the tissues to the lungs for oxygen. Vasculitis is characterized by inflammation in and damage to the walls of various blood vessels.

Each of the vasculitis diseases is defined by certain patterns of distribution of blood vessel involvement, particular organ involvement, and laboratory test abnormalities. As a group, these diseases are referred to as vasculitides.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Vasculitis?

The signs and symptoms of vasculitis vary. They depend on the type of vasculitis you have, the organs involved, and how severe the condition is. Some people may have few signs and symptoms. Other people may become very sick.

Sometimes, the signs and symptoms develop gradually over months. Other times, the signs and symptoms develop faster, over days or weeks.
Systemic Signs and Symptoms

Systemic signs and symptoms are those that affect you in a general, or overall, way. Common systemic signs and symptoms of vasculitis are:

* Fever
* Loss of appetite
* Weight loss
* Fatigue (tiredness)
* General aches and pains

Organ- or Body System-Specific Signs and Symptoms

Vasculitis can affect specific organs and body systems, causing a range of signs and symptoms.

If the condition affects your skin, you may notice a number of skin changes. For example, you may notice purple or red spots or bumps, clusters of small dots, splotches, bruises, or hives. Your skin also may itch.

If the condition affects your joints, you may ache or develop arthritis in one or more joints.

If the condition affects your lungs, you may feel short of breath. You may even cough up blood. The results from a chest x ray may show signs of pneumonia, even though that isn't what you have.
Gastrointestinal Tract

If the condition affects your gastrointestinal tract, you may get ulcers in your mouth or have abdominal pain.

In severe cases, blood flow to the intestines can be blocked. This can cause the wall of the intestines to weaken and possibly rupture. A rupture can lead to serious problems or even death.
Sinuses, Nose, Throat, and Ears

If the condition affects your sinuses, nose, throat, and ears, you may have sinus or chronic (ongoing) middle ear infections. Other symptoms include ulcers in the nose and, in some cases, hearing loss.

If vasculitis affects your eyes, you may develop red, itchy, burning eyes. Your eyes also may become sensitive to light, and your vision may become blurry. In rare cases, certain types of vasculitis may cause blindness.

If vasculitis affects your brain, symptoms may include headache, problems thinking clearly or changes in mental function, or stroke-like symptoms, such as muscle weakness and paralysis (an inability to move).

If the condition affects your nerves, you may have numbness, tingling, and weakness in various parts of your body. You also may have a loss of feeling or strength in your hands and feet and shooting pains in your arms and legs.

How Is Vasculitis Treated?

Treatment for vasculitis will depend on the type of vasculitis you have, which organs are affected, and how severe the condition is.

People who have severe vasculitis are treated with prescription medicines. Rarely, surgery may be done. People who have mild vasculitis may find relief with over-the-counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Goals of Treatment

The main goal of vasculitis treatment is to reduce inflammation in the affected blood vessels. This usually is done by reducing or stopping the immune response that caused the inflammation.
Types of Treatment

Common prescription medicines used to treat vasculitis include corticosteroid and cytotoxic medicines.

Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation in your blood vessels. Examples of corticosteroids are prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone.

Cytotoxic medicines may be prescribed if vasculitis is severe or if corticosteroids don't work well. Cytotoxic medicines kill the cells that are causing the inflammation. Examples of these medicines are azathioprine, methotrexate, and cyclophosphamide.

Your doctor may prescribe both corticosteroids and cytotoxic medicines.

Other treatments may be used for certain types of vasculitis. For example, the standard treatment for Kawasaki disease is high-dose aspirin and immune globulin. Immune globulin is a medicine given intravenously (injected into a vein).

Certain types of vasculitis may require surgery to remove aneurysms that have formed as a result of the condition. (An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of a blood vessel.)

More talk about tuesday posts can be found here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Grains of Gratitude........

This is this weeks list.

1. for rain
2. For low pain time each day
3. for getting homework done each day
4. For good books

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thought for the day

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 1, 2009


Today is blogging against disablism day 2009 which I find ironic considering what happened to me today. On Fridays I attend the local TAFE. It is a very small place so I know most of the teachers and students fairly well. At break time the art teacher came up to me and said (as she has many times before)“ You’re so lucky to have that chair, I wish I had one” I asked why she thought I was so lucky and she said “You don’t have to deal with crowds, you don’t have to walk around and you get to sit down all day”.

I wasn’t sure what to say and sort of sat there with my mouth hanging open for a second. I then said. “ it sounds like you must be having a bad day but think about some of the stuff I have to deal with because of the chair. I need help doing simple things like opening doors and I have to deal with people staring and treating me like I cannot talk or do anything because I am in a chair. Take a ride in my wheels for a week then tell me I’m lucky. And by the way you have a sore rear end when you sit on it all day without really moving”. She very quickly left the room and I’ll bet she thinks twice before deciding people are lucky to have wheelchairs from now on. I feel a bit bad now and that I sort of overreacted but it isn’t the first time she has said something and I just had enough.