Posted in Learning, Life

I think I can …

Actually, I know I can. Because I did!

Okay, I’ll back up a bit.

In February 2016, I went to the gym. Not for the first time, I hasten to add, but this particular occasion was quite memorable because it was my first ‘seniors’ class.

Yes, I snorted too – but it appears, in the world as we know it today, ‘seniors’ means those over 50. I had not, until that point, considered myself a senior and even though it’s a year later and I’m a year older, I still don’t consider myself to be a senior.

But I went anyway. I wasn’t working, the class was included in my gym membership, and it was on a Friday morning when I had nothing better to do with my time.

It may come as no surprise to you that I was the youngest person there (apart from the instructor) … by at least 10 years. And I quickly realised that’s a highly motivating factor. Here were all these oldies doing things, sometimes more quickly and with greater flexibility than I was doing them.

Yikes!

It got me moving I can tell you!

But I also discovered something important that day. I discovered that I couldn’t jump. I stood in front of the box I was to jump on to, and all sorts of thought processes went through my head but none of them helped get my feet off the ground and onto the box. While my mind was very willing, my flesh was anything but.

I simply stood there and stared. And then when we moved to the next exercise, I watched the old lady following along behind me nimbly jump onto the box, and off again, then on again as if she’d been doing it all her life. Well, let’s face it, she probably had.

But not me. I thought back to the last time I’d jumped and drew a blank. It wasn’t something I’d been called on to do in my professional life – metaphorical hoops are much easier, I learnt, than actual boxes, to jump through (or on as the case may be).

And it wasn’t something I’d had any reason to do in my personal life either.

So there I was … a non-jumper. I went home and in the privacy of my loungeroom, turned my attention to jumping, but to no avail. It seemed I was destined to be a non-jumper for life.

Fast forward to three weeks ago when I remembered my inability to jump and mentioned it to Josh, my personal trainer. “Josh”, I said as I was pushing 80kgs of metal with my legs on something appropriately named a ‘leg press’, “I can’t jump”.

He looked at me, slightly stunned that I would say something so outlandish. “What do you mean, you can’t jump?”

“I can’t. I just can’t do it. I try, but I physically can’t do it”.

He saw that as a challenge, and once I was vertical, he held my hands while I launched myself off the ground. With both feet. At the same time.

It turns out I can jump, and now not only can I jump, I can also star jump, and squat jump, and rope jump (as in skipping) and do burpees, and forward bounds, and I’m even getting the hang of running man (my coordination still needs a little work).

So there you have it. When you think you can’t jump*, hold someone’s hands, start out small, gain some confidence, and you’ll be jumping* all over the place in no time.

*Insert any other thing you think you can’t do here 🙂

Body by Josh; photo by me.
Posted in Life

Way better than never …

Life’s funny … and not always ‘funny haha’.

But funny, nonetheless.

In June 2014, I moved from Tasmania to Melbourne to live with my husband who’d moved here 5 months before. That move meant I stopped being a pre-service teacher educator.

I admit to falling into a bit of a hole. It took me some time to get used to the idea that I wouldn’t teach at university again.

And then, in 2015, I taught at university again – for one semester. And when semester ended I again stopped being a pre-service teacher educator.

I admit to falling into a bit of a hole. It took me some time to get used to the idea that I wouldn’t teach at university again.

And then earlier this year a former colleague from the University of Tasmania asked if I’d like to teach at university again.

I would. I did. It was great. One semester of interacting with students – students who were keen to learn, who were mature in their attitudes and capacity to think for themselves; some of these students I’d taught when they were in their first year of university. They remembered me, as I did them. It was great to reconnect, and interestingly, they thought so too.

And then the same colleague asked if I’d be interested in teaching the post-grad version of the unit in second semester.

I would. I did. It was great. Another semester of interacting with students – challenging their ideas about teaching, gently encouraging them out of their comfort zones, helping them see that they are more than deliverers of content, more than transmitters of what they know, and that students are more (much more) than empty vessels waiting to be filled.

I had marking to do, and I did it, and now I’m finished and the relief I feel is real and very (very) sweet.

So, am I a pre-service teacher educator? It appears the answer is ‘sometimes’ … and that’s way better than never!

Posted in Life, Writing

Life’s like that: On being a guest blogger

A message pops onto my screen as I’m scrolling through my phone one day last week. It’s an invitation from my sister, Debbie – an invitation to write a guest post on her blog in a new series she’s starting called ‘person of interest’.

If you’ve been a long-term follower of my blog, you’ll know that I blog for days and days on end, and then go quiet as other areas of my life take precedence, or as I search for something to blog about. Those silences have been known to last for months. I blogged yesterday, for instance, but it was my first post in a month.

Life’s like that. Fits and starts, slow patches where nothing much happens and you wear a dent in the couch, then suddenly it starts to warm up and still moments are hard to find.

At least, that’s what life’s like for me. A burst of energy, blog posts pour forth, images are taken and posted, creative thoughts engulf you and you make plans for projects and then teaching takes over, there are provocations to record, discussion posts to write, ideas to be shared and explored and challenged and questions to be asked, responses to student posts to be crafted to ensure warmth and encouragement and generation of thought, assignments come pouring in and feedback needs to be given that’s warm and encouraging and generates thought, and your daughter falls ill and you fly interstate to support her in her recovery and prepare nutritious and delicious meals like vegemite on toast to tempt her to eat again, and your dog is run over and you spend a week crying in the shower, while you’re walking to the station, in bed late at night, eating breakfast, and your dad gets sick and is taken to hospital and spends days not being able to talk walk eat stay awake and you hold your breath and prepare yourself for news you don’t want but know will come one day and days later he wakes up and is able to feed himself breakfast.

And then stillness, quiet, time for contemplation and an invitation pops onto your screen from your sister, inviting you to be a guest on her blog and you write responses to her questions and think about what those responses say about you but you send them in anyway, in the end knowing that you’re you and you own your responses and the person they represent.

Life’s like that.

And writing responses for my guest post sparks something in me that’s been dormant for some time and I figure if I can do it for my sister, I can do it for me too. So here I am …

… except more assignments have just poured in which means more warm, encouraging, thought-generating feedback needs to be written … and my blog will have to wait just a little longer.

I love the light in Tasmania. This image has nothing outwardly to do with my post, but I felt the calmness and serenity captured by the light suited my mood.
Posted in Flowers, Life

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My aunt, mum’s younger sister, came to stay recently, travelling, for the first time, on her own from interstate on the train. We had a lovely week together – a mix of busy days and new adventures, and other days of rest and calm.

A few days after she left, gorgeous flowers arrived as a thank you. Aunty Jan had told the florist to choose the flowers carefully because the recipients were photographers ‘of note’. While that’s possibly over-stating things (but thank you AJ), I did spend some time photographing them.

The flowers were predominantly yellow and brightened the kitchen beautifully. Here’s just one of them in the late afternoon light…

Posted in Life, Photography

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We are finally on our way – I hope the boat’s gentle rocking puts me to sleep! 

Here’s another little one I’m ultra excited to spend time with over the weekend 

Posted in Life

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Too much excitement – only two more sleeps till we get to hang out together again!

Posted in Life

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Two of my grandsons (cousins) hanging out in December last year at our last family wedding.

Next week they’re going to be hanging out together again for the next family wedding!

Seriously can’t wait!!

Posted in Flowers, Life

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It was my first day at my new (full-time, ongoing, academic) job today. A barrage of information that lasted all morning … then ‘getting settled’ during the afternoon – which meant finding more information, this time on my own.

New jobs are exhausting! Ten hours of newness in one day is quite enough. It’s time for a cuppa … and some flowers, of course!

Posted in Flowers, Life

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I wash my hair, towel it dry, shake my head … and it looks like this flower (just not yellow!).

The chrysanthemums were large, diverse, and plentiful at the Bendigo conservatory. Just like the people lining the streets.

Posted in Life, Photography

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On this day 38 years ago, I became a mother for the first time! In some ways it seems like just the other day, but in many (many) more ways it feels like a lifetime ago. I suppose it was – Ben’s lifetime ago!

Ben was the best baby a new mother could have, particularly one as young as I was at the time. He was happy, content, good natured. With his blue eyes and blonde hair, he didn’t exactly take after me – or his father for that matter – but my mother (who has blue eyes and blonde hair) loved it when people mistook him for her son rather than her grandson.

Ben and I had to stay in hospital for ten days after he was born because he was jaundiced. I had to stop breastfeeding him – in those days breast milk was said to make jaundice worse, but I think the thinking has changed on that in the years since. During those ten days, the babies would be brought around at four hourly intervals to be fed – no feeding on demand back then – and they’d be brought round on a four-berth stainless steel cart with four slots in it for the babies. You could go and visit them in the nursery between feeds, but it wasn’t encouraged. When babies slept (or cried out of ear shot) that was the time for mums to rest.

There was a rule that you weren’t allowed to wash your hair for three days after the birth and you weren’t allowed to eat chocolate or peas (no big loss there) – but there was a smoking room for the mums who smoked.

Matrons controlled the nurses with an iron fist and they all wore hats – it really was a different time.

And now Ben is 38. I can remember when I was 38! When I was 38, my eldest grandson, Ben’s eldest son, had just turned two. Ben’s youngest son is about to turn two in a few months’ time. The circle of life!

Here’s Ben with Grandma – he’s not so chubby anymore, but he’s still as cute!!

Happy birthday Ben xxx