Tuesday, December 28, 2010


 Sourced at google images


 - adjective

  1. appearing or happening at irregular intervals in time; occasional: sporadic renewals of enthusiasm.
  2. appearing in scattered or isolated instances, as a disease.
  3. isolated, as a single instance of something; being or occurring apart from others.
  4. occurring singly or widely apart in locality: the sporadic growth of plants.        sourced from Dictionary.com

5. my blogging history.
6. how often I think about blogging.
7. how often I access the computer
8. something I hope to change next year.

I'm starting on my new years resolutions. I don't often make resolutions for the coming year, but this year I am strangely compelled to do some planning for the year ahead.

After an initial flurry of blogging, I then stopped for 4 months. I began again with renewed enthusiasm brought about by Blogtoberfest, then once again ceased for just over a month. One of the things I would like to accomplish next year is to blog more often. I hope that returning to becoming dr doc, and returning to my music ensemble - along with the promise of a new computer - will encourage me to share my stories more often.

It is my hope that next year is less of a struggle than the previous few have been and my plan is to plan more and make a better life for myself. I was only thinking the other day that in many ways I need to make my life more liveable. When you live with chronic illness, it is sometimes easy to get caught up in how difficult life is. This is not to downplay the difficult times, but things can be different.

I have a few things up my sleeve to ensure that I stick to my plan, beginning with a weekly plan that includes exercise, time for blogging, scheduled music practice time and study, as well as me time, time with my beautiful partner, and time for my friends and family.

Sourced at google images 

Keep an eye out for what lies ahead. The year is filled with promise!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

There's a first time for everything

I went to the best funeral yesterday, something you don't hear very often I bet!

It was for one of my patients and I was asked to play some music, which was a privilege, and yet still, a difficult thing to do. Anyhow, it was a great party for a great kid.

It was held at the local footy oval, 

and there was a jumping castle, 
 a mobile zoo with a lamb, a calf, a shetland pony and numerous rabbits and guinea pigs. 

There was also equipment to play footy or cricket, along with a sausage sizzle, fairy bread and cupcakes. A great send off indeed, along with an antique fire engine and a harley hearse.

RIP Mack.

This was a fantastic example of community for me to witness also. The local community rallied around this family and provided lots of food, drinks and entertainment for the kids. It really showed how having a supportive community can pull together when things are tough. In our very individual lifestyles that many of us lead these days, we have lost that sense of community a bit. It is such a shame. 

One of the things that I will be sad about when we move is the loss of our little community in the street. We share the care and rewards of chooks, we share food when there is too much for one family, we share laughs in the street, and we know that we can count on our neighbours for help in times of need - such as the time our kitten got stuck down the drain and our wonderful neighbour came and helped us shift the drain cover.

Whether our needs are big - as in preparing for the perfect send off - or small - such as helping rescue our kitten - our community makes our lives happier. Whether it is a geographical community, a community of interest or any other type, it is always nice to belong and to feel both needed and supported.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day Dreaming

 Of walking on a beach

Swimming in aqua blue water - that's not in a pool!

I am off to the pool now

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Independence Day

This morning I took some time out of my day to witness first steps towards independence.

We were alerted to its presence by a visit from it's mother who alighted on the clothes line under cover of our deck. She has been a regular visitor of late. When she flew away we saw this beautiful baby magpie gingerly standing on the fence.

It went on to make numerous attempts to take off, by spreading one wing and then the other followed by some preening. It hopped along the fence from left to right and back again.

This wonderful creature finally flew off to the magnificent gum tree in our neighbours yard. Go you good thing! Welcome to the big scary world.

It was a magical experience to watch, and reminded me that we all have to continue to take our own individual steps towards independence. This may be as simple as taking a walk around the block, or realising a dream of living in Antarctica, or becoming a helicopter pilot. (A little insight into me!)

Whatever it is you need for your soul to take further steps to independence, remember it begins with one tiny little hop followed by mustering the courage to take off! Go on you can do it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Horse Racing

Here in Melbourne, the first Tuesday in November is always a public holiday.

Flemington Race course. Sourced from google images

It is the day of the annual running of the Melbourne Cup. Yes we get a holiday for a horse race. This is just one of the things I love about Melbourne.

 Flemington Race course. Sourced from google images

I also love horse racing, so it's win, win here.

Flemington Race course. Sourced from google images

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's the end of Blogtoberfest as we know it...

Well the end has arrived. I had my doubts about my ability to make it to the end when I began this journey way back on the 01/10/10 (or 10/01/01 for my American friends!), but here I am...

Seriously. Who am I kidding...

 I've been partying... Singing... and taking it easy!

I was a hopeless Blogtoberfestie, and didn't even attempt to post every day as the lovely host has done. I also haven't been able to visit very many other festival goers, but it has had some benefits for me that I would like to share. Apart from anything else, I managed to post 15 times this month. That is an improvement of nearly 100% on my previous total number of posts!!

Blogtoberfest has rekindled my interest in blogging and I believe it has come at a time when I am beginning to start contemplating my study again. I began this blog to document my PhD journey. I swiftly put up a few posts, then stopped. This mirrored my study journey really and as I have mentioned previously, I then gave up - both study and blogging - for various reasons.

 Now, I'm not one for new years resolutions, but this seems like a good time to make a resolution, and mine is this:

I will continue this blog as a way of developing a community of interest, which will (hopefully) mirror - in some ways - the process of my study.

Blogtoberfest has introduced me to a lovely new community. As I said I have not been around to visit many of you, but my plan is to continue on this journey of discovery. I am interested in the process of how things happen. It is about the journey not the destination and all those other cliches floating around.

I think one of the reasons I have such a passionate interest in process is that I have become quite immediate since I got sick. I believe this is because of the nature of my illness and how it relates to energy, so for years I have felt the need to get things done now before I run out of energy - and also time.

Ironically what this illness continues to teach me is the importance of taking time to stop and get the process right because it can have a huge impact on the outcome.  I don't enjoy having a chronic illness, but as a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, I had lessons to learn, and I may not have learnt them any other way.

So Blogtoberfest, I bid you farewell but not goodbye. I thank you for providing me with the impetus to get back on the horse (so to speak); for the joy of meeting new people and catching up with old friends and of course for the opportunity to learn. It is my great joy in life and I am lucky to be able to pursue it as I want.

It's the end of Blogtoberfest as we know it... But not the end of this little blog. Thanks Tinniegirl. XXX

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's that Skip...?

I mean Willow?

In our house the real decision makers are not the humans!

Anyone who lives with cats will know what I'm talking about. Willow is the more aloof of our cats, and she is particularly sensitive to change. Holden is happy as long as tinniegirl is there - she is his home!

Willow is actually a really good judge of the feel of a place. Sometimes I think it would be good to be able to take Willow along when we look for our new house, and let her choose. When we moved into this home she was quick to get out and about and explore the garden. This was a sign of a good house for us. In past houses, it had taken Willow up to 2 weeks to come out of the cupboard.

Let's hope she likes wherever we end up this next time. Come on Willow, manifest the right place!

PS for those who didn't grow up with Skippy, he was an amazing kangaroo who was the best friend of Sonny. He would lead Sonny to people who were in trouble and make a clicking sound. Sonny would then always ask "What's that Skip" or What's up Skip".

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sharing a Computer ...

 ... During Blogtoberfest ... When you live with the lovely host ...

1.  can be frustrating!
2.  is a great excuse for not posting!
3.  demonstrates the need for a new computer!
4.  decreases time available for random surfing and/or shopping!
5.  is simply not on!!!

I NEED a lovely shiny new computer!!

Image sourced from bindapple.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Low c - cultural Exchange

Over the last few weeks there has been some cultural exchange going on at work. One of my colleagues is here from America, and she was saying the other day that she had never heard sprinkles called 100s and 1000s.

This conversation led to a discussion of fairy bread and freckles. She was intrigued by the idea of fairy bread particularly, and myself and the rest of the aussies, recounted stories of countless birthday parties that included fairy bread. I decided to introduce her to the unique flavour experience of fairy bread the next day, and also bought her a packet of freckles.

Imagine my surprise when I turned up at work yesterday to be greeted by a packet of fairy pretzels. What is a fairy pretzel I hear you ask. My colleague had turned a packet of ordinary pretzels into fairy pretzels in honour of fairy bread and freckles.

Check them out! They are delicious. I couldn't believe that someone would go to the trouble of dipping pretzels in chocolate, then in 100s and 1000s! So sweet!!!

We had a lot of fun with them yesterday. It really made my birthday at work. I told her to get straight onto marketing them!!

I love silliness and laughter at work. I find it energising, helps to make the day pass and breaks up the sometimes very serious nature of my work. Anyway, we have had a lot of fun at work lately with food and also with the pronunciation of words.... How do you say squirrel??

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Birthdays and other things

Well It's my birthday. A very quiet one for me this year. Unlike a few years ago!

Tinniegirl is not home tonight as she is looking after her mumsy who has had a day procedure today, so I am alone. It has not been bad, I have been on the phone for about 2 hours fielding birthday calls, which has been lovely.

I think birthdays can be interesting times. Another year over, unknown adventures ahead. It's a time to choose whether you think back on what has been or look to what might be. This year for me, I am doing a bit of both. I have chronic fatigue syndrome, and this has been a watershed year for me in terms of my health. Earlier this year, I was becoming increasingly desperate trying to manage my illness. I was lucky enough to come across a fantastic man who I believe saved my life, my relationship and my job. The rehab program that I have undertaken since April this year has changed my life! Last week I rode my bike to work and then home again. It was something that I could not have even thought about doing 6 months ago. I can look back with pride to see how far I have come in a short time. 

I look forward as well to a future. I could not see a way forward 6 months ago, now I can again begin to realise my dreams. I will return to study next year, and get on with completing my PhD. I will be returning to playing guitar with Concordia, I am able to consider travelling again, and really I will be able to achieve whatever I choose. This is a great year.

Happy Birthday to me!!! Here's to many more!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mind Mapping

Have you heard of mind mapping?

A friend of mine recently told me about mind mapping and how it had helped her with organising her studying.

While I am currently on a leave of absence from my studies to concentrate on improving my health, I bought this book the other day. I am feeling heaps better and thinking a lot about getting back to study. This seemed like a good way to begin, after all what harm can it do to organise my brain?

I have read The Brain that Changes Itself,  so I know about the possibilities of my brain, but sometimes it is hard to believe my brain is capable of the things I read about!!! 

I approach my new challenge with an open mind (it's kind of like hitting the open road and seeing where the wind takes you!). Mind Mapping here I come - I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sesame Street: Will.i.am's Song "What I Am"

I was a fan of sesame street growing up, still love Elmo, and I also like the Black Eyed Peas, so I think this is fab! Check it out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Self Portrait

Today I'm joining in self portrait day for Blogtoberfest. 


This is the first self portrait I took with my new camera. I love taking these shots!

Here I am again on the beach at Port Douglas recently, and

and here is one of Tinniegirl and my good self a few years ago!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another Lazy Sunday

What's the best way to spend a sunny Sunday?

Sitting in a cafe, late morning on a sunny Sunday
Watching the world go by.
Maybe some shopping, a swim and then some reading in the backyard.

Does anyone else think it's cool that the date is 10/10/10!!?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What are you up to?

Dum de dum de dum. I wonder if there's anything happening this weekend.

Briiing briing... Huh, oh the phone, Hellooo, hellooo, who is it?

... I can't hear you, can you please speak up!


 ... what! a party! Fantastic!

... Sounds great, whereabouts?

... look forward to it, see you soon...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A sense of community does make a difference

A couple of things have happened this week at work, that have got me thinking again about community.

On Monday my music therapy colleagues and I had peer supervision. This is a time that I look forward to every month where we get together to talk about our clinical work and try to help each other to see things from a different perspective. We have been doing this since July, and we are really enjoying the process. It was my turn to present an issue, or something that has been bothering me about work. I work in an acute paediatric hospital setting so there are some pretty meaty things that come up sometimes, and this time put aside for us every month is fantastic. We are a small community of 5, but this experience helps to remind us that we are a little community within the larger community of the hospital. It also helps me to realise what a resource I have in my colleagues.

I also went along to the staff choir for the first time. I have been working in this job for just over a year now, and I have been repeatedly encouraged to go along to choir by a number of my workmates. It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the opportunity to sing just for me, and not for/with my patients.

I realised it had been a long time since I regularly played music for me.  I mentioned a few days ago that I was hoping to rejoin my orchestra this month, and the choir experience has strengthened my resolve to make it happen. This was another experience of community. The choir is an open choir, no auditions, no previous choir experience, or expertise needed. It is made up of cleaning staff, patient assistants, kitchen staff, allied health staff, as well as doctors, nurses and the CEO. I know of no other opportunity that brings all hospital employees together as equals. Quite a unique experience.

I had a very productive day at work today. I wonder if this is related to the sense of community I felt?
For me it reinforces my view of how important community can be.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lazy Sunday lies ahead

The weather is perfect
The world championship cycling is on the TV - Go Cadel
Daylight saving Time has begun
It's great to be alive

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Love Books.

I am a book fan. I dream about having a library in my house that is wall to wall shelves absolutely chock full of books. Books provide opportunities for escapism, learning, adventures, sharing lives, and so many other things. They offer endless possibilities for those who similarly indulge in my passion for them.

Sourced at google images

 There are 3 bookshelves in my house, 2 of which are in my study. They house books related to my study - of course - as well as favourite books that I cannot bear to part with.

My theory about books is, they are there to share their stories with others. I give away lots of books, and I get lots of books from my family members and friends. I see this as a very simple way to build community, however, there are just some of these joyous adventures and places of wisdom that I wish to have the opportunity to take over and over.

I give away lots of my books to op shops for strangers to share and I get a little thrill from thinking about who will read this story next. So I was very excited when I got to work last week and a colleague had an idea about a book sharing shelf. She had cleared some space above her desk where people could bring in their books and they could be shared with others in the office. What a great opportunity  to build more meaningful relationships with colleagues. Books tell you a lot about a person, and it is a nice feeling to find that you like a similar style of books to someone else. It makes me feel connected and this is what we all as humans are striving for to improve out quality of life.

So get to it, share you books and you will feel great!

(PS so far so good for me and Blogtoberfest!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

BLOGTOBERFEST ... for lapsed bloggers

My name is Becoming Dr Doc, and I am a lapsed blogger!

I began blogging in May this year, stopped in May this year, then started again last week - in September this year.

Perhaps foolishly, I have decided to join in with Blogtoberfest - hosted by tinniegirl. By taking the plunge and joining in, I have opted in to blog every day in October!!!!!! (This does indeed seem a crazy thing for a lapsed blogger to do.)

If you look closely at these photos, you can see the city - very tiny - in the centre of the photos.

I took these photos from the window of a moving car, and the size of the city is how I see the end of October at this point in time! As a lapsed and extremely episodic blogger, posting every day for the next 31 days seems almost like an impossible task, but I am going to take on the challenge.

I may not succeed in posting every day, but if I post more often than my weekly average for the year, I will have exceeded my total posts - for ever and always, and this seems like a worthwhile goal.

It will be an exciting month, our house is being auctioned, it is my birthday month, and I am planning to rejoin my orchestra group after a few years break so there should be lots to talk about.

A festival is a great way to go about building community, which is something I like to wax lyrical about, and so with gusto I say, put your hair in pigtails, pitch your tent, turn up the music and let's party - it's festival month.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I love flying on planes, they transport me in literal and figurative ways!

 I woke up this morning singing a song called Freedom that I learnt at my conference last week and got to sing with 100+ others. It was a magical experience, and today it got me thinking about freedom.

The experience of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef is one of pure freedom. It is a silent world that allows thoughts to run free.

Waiting for the tram the other day, this lovely balloon flew by and took my mind away from the task at hand to another place, that was far away from the work I was travelling towards.

I realised that I experience a strong link between FREEDOM and TRANSPORT. Whether it be actual or virtual. Hmmm.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

After a Long Hiatus...

My little blog has been neglected for a while now. I have been concentrating on health related things, and have taken a leave of absence from my studies.

I've been doing lots of hanging around ... Reading lots of books ... and generally taking it easy.

Last week I attended the annual Australian Music Therapy Conference in Melbourne. It was the best music therapy conference I have been to in a long time. Great programme, great networking, and plenty of opportunities to catch up with friends.

It was a great experience of being with like minded community, and inspired me to begin to think about my study again. So I asked tinniegirl to help me update my blog and make it look new and lovely.

I hope I have the wherewithall to keep going. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who makes up your Community?

I have been struggling with this blog now that I have started it. I have not really known where I wanted to go with it, and what was the purpose of it.  So I have been thinking about what it is all about, and how I want this blog to look. 

I was excited by the prospect of having a blog to document my journey through this PhD, and I really wanted to continue but I also wanted to write something that would be interesting to read. Anyway, that's where I'm at for the moment.

I think a lot about community and what it means. I have been particularly thinking about it this week as it was my partner's birthday yesterday. We also paid a visit to my brother and sister in-law and their kids on the weekend. 

I was brought up to believe that the most important people in your life are your family. I have found out this is not always the case. It has been an interesting journey for me to finding out that family of choice - the people you choose to have in your life, such as good friends who are there no matter what - can be much more important than blood relatives. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, but they have different values to me on some things and sometimes they find it hard to understand the ways that I think and the things that I do. 

So the community of family that I grew up with, have evolved into a wonderful community of friends, some of who my partner and I call our family of choice. These are people who love us for who we are, who are always there when we need them, who we support when they need us, and who we love to spend time with. There are no expectations about how often this will happen, or how much money has been spent on something - in fact often the simpler the better. It is about the company, and being able to really enjoy each other. We have no expectations of each other except that we will always be there to hang out, and help out when needed. It is a truly beautiful relationship.

Some members of our family of choice live overseas. For obvious reasons we don't see each other very often, but we email, we send packages and when we get together (which is usually about every 3 or 4 years) we have lots of fun, enjoy each others company and we just hang out.

What I am saying is that communities can be something that we don't have as much choice over when we are younger, but as we grow into ourselves and understand where our values lie and in fact who we are as people, we change and can make choices about communities that are a good fit. 

This is the journey we are all on, and lends itself to my study of process. I want to gain a deeper understanding of what happens when people journey together either in a therapeutic sense, or in a community cultural development sense, and on the way, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of my own process within my communities. It is very exciting to link my sometimes seemingly nebulous ideas to real life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Language and Context

A little reading this week has clarified a couple of areas needing further outlining.

The first is language. The language of Community Music Therapy, is very different to the language of Community Cultural Development. This reflects the origins of these different fields. Community Music Therapy has grown from allied health and medical influences, and Community Cultural Development from community arts and participation.

 The American sign language alphabet is different to the Australian sign language alphabet
Sourced from google images

The second is context. In reading about the development of Community Music Therapy, it has become apparent to me that context is very important. The development of this field as described in the literature is very much described from a European perspective. In short, Music Therapy is an allied health profession and as such has been allied with medical models.It has grown away from this influence to some degree, but still mostly relies on robust evidence based evaluation to prove its worth.

Community Cultural Development is influenced by political contexts which again differ according to country.  It has explored some different evaluation techniques such as practice based research and product as evidence. I am really keen to get into this as I hope to describe practice based research in a way that is understood to adhere to robust evidence based evaluation.

Sourced from google images

When I embarked on this journey, I thought it would be fairly easy to find and point out the similarities and differences in the two fields. I now think a little differently. Beginning to look at the journeys of development towards becoming a recognised field has been an interesting exercise, and as I continue to explore this, I expect to find that language and context are very important in the ways I describe my work. I will need to make sure that the language is inclusive of both fields and that the context is clear when I am describing what I have found.

Plenty of food for thought in moving ahead with my discoveries.

I attended the arts and community researchers network meeting on Monday. It was great to meet with others doing researching in this area, and have a chance to discuss some of these ideas. The next one is Thurs 17th June, and I will be presenting some of my work so far. I am excited by this opportunity.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Community - just what is it?

 sourced via google images. temple.edu

I have been reading to get a more theoretical understanding of the term community.

What do you think of when I say community?

There are many different types of communities. I have personally been a member of a number of different communities in my life including sporting teams, orchestras, book clubs, school and university, Caucasian, Rotary just to name a few. Among these are the broader communities of musicians, students and race. they also cover the gamut of local, national and international communities. I am privileged in my life to have had these experiences, and am today privileged to be among a community of PhD students, not only at Uni of Melbourne, but also globally.

There is a basic definition of Community in the CCD reader from 2006 when I began my Masters, it states:

"A community can be any group of people who choose to identify with each other. Communities can be created through things people have in common, geographical location, interests, cultural heritage or simply a desire to strengthen relationships and share experiences."

Wikipedia tells us that "
In biological terms, a community is a group of interacting organisms (or different species) sharing an environment. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

In sociology, the concept of community has led to significant debate, and sociologists are yet to reach agreement on a definition of the term. There were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the mid-1950s.[1] Traditionally a "community" has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household. The word can also refer to the national community or global community.

 Music Festivals create communities. Port Fairy Folk Festival sourced via google images.

This is  just to get me started. I am reading a number of things at the moment that look at community in different ways.

Richard Florida in The Rise of the Creative Class basically talks about creativity as driving economies and the development of communities around this.

Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community talks about civic engagement and participation as well as the development of social capital as an essential part of creating community.

From Community development literature (Susan Kenny and Jim Ife) there is the concept of common identity which can encompass those things mentioned earlier.

From Community Music Therapy literature, (Gary Ansdell, Mercedes Pavlicevic, Brynjulf Stige and Cochavit Elefant) the idea of community is also based on common identity or the creation of, or people who come together with common goals.

Maybe you're wondering where I stand on all this? Well I definitely define community as something defined by the people who are a part of it. (vague enough?) I am not someone to put labels on others, but as someone who has been part of many communities and for now, for the purposes of my research, community is something that is created by people who have common identity or wish to create one.

It is important for me to have a good theoretical knowledge of Community from the different bodies of literature I have mentioned in order to try and make some sense of the bigger question around this, and that is where are the similarities and differences in the fields of Community Cultural Development and Community Music Therapy.