Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bat out of Hell*

Photos from my walk this afternoon

I was actually running along when I took this shot not that you can tell!

It's a bat colony next to the river

 Like a bat out of hell
I'll be gone when the morning comes
But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And moonlight's shining through
Then like a sinner before the gates of heaven
I'll come crawling on back to you
*Bat out of Hell - Meatloaf

The Book of Love* - Part IV

I have been joining in with somewhere along a winding path to count the number of books I read in a year. I recently tried to link back to the book list at the above blog via the blog button and then by going straight to the blog. It appears the blog has been closed.

I am enjoying myself however and will continue to record what I am reading each month. I have also put a list on my side bar.

15. The Weight of Silence - Heather Gudenkauf

sourced from google images

16. Golden Buddha - Clive Cussler

sourced from google images

17. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott

sourced from google images

This was a great little book and very inspiring and quick and easy to read. It made writing a novel seem easy! I know it isn't, but I thought I could do it if I really wanted to. I found heaps of things that I can apply to writing my thesis, and am putting them into practice already. I highly recommend this book to those that are writing no matter what it is. I have had the kernel of an idea for a children's book for a few years, and it also helped to flesh this out a little - even if I should be writing my thesis, not a children's book!

18. The Brain that Changes Itself - Norman Doidge

sourced from google images

I had started this book last year, but I didn't get very far. It is a really interesting book about brain processes, and how we can always build new pathways. I knew that it was possible to build different neural pathways having worked in brain injury rehabilitation as a music therapist, and knowing that  music is a medium that can assist the brain to do this.

19. The Innocent Man - John Grisham

sourced from google images

This is John Grisham's first true crime novel. It is well written and an interesting account of the events that happened in a little town called Ada in Oklahoma, in the 1980's.

20. Today's Best Non Fiction -  Readers Digest

sourced from google images

This is a book of 5 non fiction stories
  • The Railway Man - Eric Lomax. This story is about a young man who loved trains and was a POW during the second world war. The story described his torture and life following.
  • A Plague of Caterpillars - Nigel Barley. This story describes the circumcision ritual of the Dowayo people in Cameroon.
  • Katharine Hepburn - Barbara Leaming. An interesting biography that examines Katharine Hepburn's life from the perspective of her family.
  • The Romanovs - Robert K. Massie. Describes the end of the Romanov family
  • Raising Lazarus - Robert Pensack, MD & Dwight Williams. This is a first hand experience of a heart attack and the aftermath.

Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb
*The Book of Love - Peter Gabriel

Friday, April 29, 2011

Home Among The Gum Trees*

The Time has come!
It's definitely time to move!

After this and this, then this and this.

We have been back and forth many times about whether to move or whether to stay, we have been told by our landlords (who have sold the house and are waiting to settle) that the new owners want vacant possession. We are not sure if they can legally do that at this point, but what we know is that we will have to move. I might be in 60 days, or it might be in 120 days, but whatever happens the outcome is determined now.

In one way it is good because we have flip flopped about the decision so many times since last august when we found out the house was to be sold. I kept saying the time was not right. 
Well guess what - the time is right now. We are excited and tomorrow will be spent looking at potential rental properties. We want to move as soon as we can, and begin a new phase in our lives. It is exciting. There have been a few changes lately that have been pointing to this and now we can see our way to moving.

Bring it on!

Give me a home among the gumtrees
With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair 
*Home among the Gum Trees - John Williamson

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The question today is PROCESS or REPRESENTATION?

It seems I am trying to do too many things in my PhD. I wanted to try and design evaluation that includes the voices of vulnerable and marginalised communities, as well as define and measure the process that occurs during Community Music Therapy and Community Cultural Development.

I got a bit sidetracked onto process and headed off on the way to try and describe it - at least for the purpose of what I am doing. After supervision on Thursday last week, in which both my supervisors were present, it was suggested to me that I needed to bed down my question and that means deciding what it is I really want to look at for the next few years. 
After some discussion today with my best friend, I have decided to concentrate on what initially led me down this path of study, and that is representation within evaluation. It was suggested to me that maybe examining participation might be the way to go.

AAAH it is proving challenging at this stage to pin down what I am most passionate about!!!

You will represent who you stand for
They won't shame you
They won't change you
There's a consequence for the path you chose
They can't change you
They can't make you who you are not
*Represent - Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Right Here, Right Now*

Today's activities included...


and a little retail therapy thrown in.

A Lovely Lazy Day in the middle of the week. Hope yours is too!!
Right here, right now, there is no other place I want to be
 *Right Here, Right Now - Jesus Jones

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Time to make to some changes.

I was getting a little tired of seeing the same blog template, so I have been learning about how to customise my blog with the help of my partner (She's a wiz!)

I wanted to use some of my own photos and now I have learnt to do it. I am very excited because I can now change things as often as I like around here.

There have been a lot of things going on at work and with my study, that make me feel there are some changes in the air.

 I am opening myself up to the possibilities!!

Meanwhile, I am having a little break from work and thoroughly enjoying myself. Last Friday I cleaned out the shed, which was a job that has been hanging around for a while, so it feels great to have that done.

Saturday I hung out with my niece and nephew and we did some baking for Easter.


After. YUM!!

and observed the artist at work...

Sunday we had Easter lunch with the fam, and Monday, dinner with friends before a quiet dinner out together tonight at Mezza.

A bit of down time is indicated tomorrow, before this little break continues at speed!
(I hope to continue with my book list reading)

So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test
(Turn and face the strain)
*Changes - David Bowie

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Anniversary Waltz*

We just discovered each other
Tonight when the lights were low
One dance led up to another
And now I can't let you go
So tell me I may always dance
The Anniversary Waltz with you
Tell me this is real romance
An anniversary dream come true
*Anniversary Waltz - Vera Lynn

Today is our 11th anniversary.
We are treating ourselves to some luxury.

We had big plans for our 10th anniversary last year, bring number 10, that is pretty significant we thought, let's treat ourselves to a lovely dinner at a restaurant we have always wanted to go to. The booking was made months in advance as was needed, and we got very excited. Unfortunately, weeks before the big event it became obvious that I was not well enough to go and enjoy the experience, so we pulled the plug on the sumptuous dinner experience, and decided to go somewhere local. This turned out to be a good idea as I was ready to head home to bed after entree (that's appetisers for my American friends, not main course)

One year on, things are so different and this is what I looked at while eating a lovely dinner last night before enjoying bathing in the thermal pools among the beautiful surroundings of Peninsula Hot Springs.


After a night staying at the holiday house of some very generous friends, we are heading back this morning to sample some more bathing. Can't wait.

Happy Anniversary my love. I Love You. XXX

Let this be the answer
To our future years
Through millions of smiles
And a few little tears
May I always listen to
The Anniversary Waltz
With you... 
*Anniversary Waltz - Vera Lynn

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I like your old stuff better than your new stuff*

Things are feeling a little strange at the moment, there are things going on at work that are puzzling to me, and I have somehow unknowingly been caught up in the flurry and it doesn't feel like it is going to end well.

sourced at google images

I am really trying to surrender to the moment as suggested by Christine Arylo. I think I have done pretty well the last few days, but sometimes it just all gets too much and I think, I wish things could go back to the way they were before!

The reality is that when I think it, I know it isn't really true. The last 12 months have been huge for me, with heaps of good things happening in my recovery from illness, in my ability to get back into life, in the deepening of my love for my wonderful partner as we have struggled through the tough times together.

Do you think people can outgrow jobs?

I know what I like about work and the things I need for a place to be a good fit for me:
  • I love the feeling of community - with either staff, students/clients/patients/families
  • I love being encouraged to be innovative
  • I love a certain amount of autonomy
  • I love to know that what I am doing is making an impact on those with whom I am working
  • I love being a music therapist and working with music as my primary operating medium
  • I love to feel well supported in my role
among other things, these are what keep me motivated about work and loving my job.

I find it particularly hard when bureaucracy gets in the way of doing my job. I know that places need systems in place to get things done efficiently but I hate when this gets in the way of actually doing good work.

So I am looking forward to tomorrow, and the joys this weekend will bring.

everyday i talk to my machines
more sense than talking to human beings
it's pretty in the land of the free
where things ain't quite what they seem
*I like your old stuff better than your new stuff - Regurgitator
Suggested by Tinniegirl

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Drugs Don't work*

My body is letting me down!

I used to get lots of viruses, and certainly when I started my current job - nearly 2 years ago - I got sick heaps. It happens every time I begin a new job.  I have a motto about new jobs - "new job, new germs"

I am a music therapist after all, and I work with people, which means I come into contact with lots of different bugs to catch when I start a new job. I am the virus queen, if there is something going around, I will catch it - just lucky I guess! That, my friends, is one of my joys of having a chronic illness!!! So I get sick a little more often it's not a huge price to pay now is it?

However I am a little annoyed because in the past 3 months, I have had almost 3 weeks off, which is a lot in an old job - even for me.

Once again last week I was laid up with another virus! They are annoying little things and the drugs don't work!!

I do have a confession to make however. The week before last I not only rode to work on my allotted day, but I also rode to NaMTRU and that is apart from participating in the two day seminar, and presenting on Sunday. OOPS!

Me thinks I may have overdone it a little!!! So I have been sitting around, contemplating my navel for a few days and it's not looking good for Monday! (Don't tell, but I have been sneaking in a little study)

But if you wanna show, just let me know
And I'll sing in your ear again
Now the drugs don't work
They just make you worse
But I know I'll see your face again
*The Drugs Don't work - The Verve

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bicycle Race*

The main problem I have with the end of daylight saving is that the nights get dark so quickly. Don't get me wrong, I much prefer to wake up to light in the morning, it was definitely a struggle getting out of bed the last few weeks before the change, when it was so dark at 6.30am and still lightening up when I left home at 7.30.

However, I have just begun to ride to work one day a week and the early darkness is a new thing for me. I have to get used to using my lights, and remember to turn them off!

I love riding. I have been riding most of my life, and have usually owned a bike, but I hadn't ridden for about ten years before I really fell in love with riding last year.

It happened when I decided to use it as part of my rehab.

I bought a new bike because my old one was not really up to the task, and off I went. It gave me such a sense of freedom after going everywhere by car for years. The riding had a lot of significance attached to it - not only in my health journey:
  • Riding means that I have recovered my fitness to the point where I can not easily get my heart rate up sufficiently by simply walking - a big step.
  • Riding provided another avenue for transport other than the car - which fits really well with my environmental bent.
  • Riding provides me with an experience of freedom I have not had in years.
  • Riding makes it possible to get out of the house when I have no car.
As much as I love riding I do have to remember not to overdo it. So at the moment, I do this by limiting my rides to work to once a week. This is a small consideration for so much joy. I am so happy to have rediscovered my bike. I cannot wait till I recover sufficiently to increase my use of it as a commuter device. Bring it on!

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like
*Bicycle Race - Queen

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I Am*#

Now a few days post Under pressure, I am slowly integrating some of the things that came out of the discussion after my presentation.

I have ended up with more questions than answers from the experience but that is entirely appropriate at this stage of the game - at least that's what they tell me!

In my quest to measure the process that occurs when engaging in a Community Music Therapy (CoMT) or Community Cultural Development (CCD) program, it seems I may first have to define process. I have a working definition that is about looking at the journey not the outcome.

(Through my recent illness, one of the things that has been made very clear to me is that the time taken to complete something is just as important as the end product, and this has been useful in helping me to preserve energy and begin recovery.)

According to the concise Macquarie Dictionary, process is defined as a systematic series of actions directed to some end; a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner. The problem with these definitions for my purposes is that they are saying that the steps involved in process are predetermined, or taken in order to reach a goal or outcome.

I am saying that the steps are not predetermined, or cannot be outlined, and there may indeed be no outcome that is visible. Perhaps the process is the outcome?!?!

The Australian Modern Oxford Dictionary definition of process has something that better supports mine - a series of actions or operations used in making or achieving something; a series of changes, a natural function; a course of events or time. These definitions seem to suit my own a little better. I clearly need to do some further reading about process in therapy.

My interest in process predated my illness so it seems serendipitous that I am now attempting to study this very thing, after having some very real life lessons to learn about it. Maybe it is true that I needed to learn these life lessons before I could effectively study process, and in turn attempt to evaluate it!

The challenge for now seems to lie in the fact that during therapy, or any form of participatory music program, every individual or group brings something different and unique with them. We all take our own history and experiences and all the things that make us who we are and explain a lot of why we do what we do, with us everywhere we go. For this reason, it would seem to me that process within the context of CoMT/CCD will be a very unique thing for each individual or group.

I'll keep you posted as I progress on my journey. I had begun to look at evaluation, but I think it will serve me well to switch to looking at process for the moment.

Off to the library to get some different sorts of books out!

And what I Am is THOUGHTFUL.
And what I AM is MUSICAL.
And what I AM is SMART.
And what I AM is BRAVE.
And what I AM is HELPFUL.
And what I AM is SPECIAL.
*What I Am -

#Check out this song on youtube, I love it!! I have posted it before! I think it says a lot about what I am trying to say and explore.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Under Pressure*

Tomorrow, I am presenting my research to one of my music therapy heroes - Brynjulf Stige. I have been trying to write the presentation for weeks, but it will not come together.

 I am a part of the National Music Therapy Research Unit or NaMTRU, at the University of Melbourne. Twice yearly all the post grad students get together and present wherever they are up to with their research.

There is always a visiting professor - from one of the consortium of universities that NaMTRU is part of - who gives feedback and offers their opinion. This time it is Brynjulf. He is a guru of Community Music Therapy and this is part of what I am looking at. It is exciting, nerve racking and very inspiring. I met him on Thursday and again today, but tomorrow I have to present my work.

I cannot seem to get my thoughts into any sort of order. I am terrified of presenting gobbledy gook to someone I respect.

 not even Big Cat is helping!

Sometimes the hardest thing is living up to the expectations I have of myself

Anyway, this is not getting it done either.

Pressure pushing down on me
*Under Pressure - Queen

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Book of Love* - Part III

I am joining in with somewhere along a winding path to count the number of books I read in a year.
It has been a quiet reading month this month, so I haven't made a massive addition to my total.

12. A Woman's Life - Rachel Billington

 sourced at google images

13. Cold Blood - Lynda La Plante

sourced at google images

14. Point of Origin - Patricia Cornwall

sourced at google images

The book of love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
*The Book of Love - Peter Gabriel