Christmas and the close of 2017

I am still waiting on feedback on my Ph.D. and this endless waiting for feedback is disheartening, to say the least. It makes me rethink my work, and I want to write further, however, I am on strict instructions not to change anything. So, I’m wandering through my work and fixing up references, getting it ready to put through the plagiarism tool on the University website. This will be an interesting procedure, kind of exciting to see if it passes. As Christmas approaches at a pace faster than I can ever remember, I am now working more than I have in the previous years. Physically working as opposed to writing and sitting for hours each day. I am of course exhausted by the time I reach the doors of home and flop down after eating food to sit for the rest of the night. Ready to return the next day bright and early…sort of.

This month was terrible for me, in that Bobby my pony became unwell with colic and try as I might with many vet visits I could not change the outcome. This to me was very distressing as I heard him drop to the earth so hard and so fast my mind couldn’t comprehend it. As I looked down at his still body his blue eyes were staring back and hard as I tried I could not close them. “I’m sorry,” said the young vet, as she whispered to me, “they don’t close.”

The saddest part was when the vet was telling me that I had to say “yes” before she could euthanize him. It was as if he was listening. He walked towards me, his head down, his eyes half closed and with those words of the vets somewhere in my head he slowly placed his head on my lap and closed his eyes. “Hurry up” the vet said, “you must tell me now, and where will we do it?”. She placed what seemed to be a huge bore needle into his neck and he stood still, very still.

I had no idea where I was to kill my pony, it’s not something that I had contemplated, ever. So, we walked slowly to a newly cleared spot, and he would walk no further.

“It’s okay,” he’ll be okay, here, if this is what he wants.”

She connected the needle to the syringe, and he fell, to the earth.

I  still imagine that I see him running up to meet me when I come home but the paddock stays empty. I miss his playful self.




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Still Here

Well after much stress my thesis is at the editors. In case you’re wondering not my original editor that I contracted last year. Due to length of time it took my work to be reviewed by my supervisors I had to find a new editor. My due by date came and went and all I could do was sit by and watch. Having been told repeatedly not to write anything until my work was reviewed. So now my work is being submitted as it is, my time again is running out. There are many lessons to be learnt from this process.

My six month contract at work has been extended so I’m still fitting in work and online tutorials. I’m writing this snippet while we drive to Lismore to see our sons for the day. The earth is parched and the long white slender tree trunks shine in the bright light of the day. The colours of the shrub are mingled with the dull browns of the earth. The sun is warm  yet crisp as winter gives way to spring.

Can’t wait to see my thesis when northern editor is done. Oh and my plagiarism score was low so that was very good news. If all goes to plan it should be submitted before the end of this month.

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New Year 2018

It’s late at night again and I have decided to write a few words while I am thinking about it.

January is nearly over and a few days ago I signed a contract for 6 months to work as an Educator at the hospital. So far it has been great, everything seems to be falling into place at work, fingers crossed. I am also still holding tuts online which is also good fun. A large snake 🐍 turned up on the verandah and between the barking dogs and hissing snake it was a racket. I’m sure the online students had a good old laugh.

My PhD mmmm still under review and now I’m getting some feedback so I’m spending time rewriting. This is disappointing as I’ve had to waste time waiting for it to be reviewed, it is so very frustrating!! But at least I’m on the right track. I have an editor waiting for several months. So it’s all getting rather anxious right now. Keeping motivated for years is difficult when you can’t control your own outcome!! Frustrating…

The children and their children all visited over the Christmas break. It was great to share in their swimming and playing fun. And very easeful, having my children now adults who share in the work load.

Time for sleep now until the next saga.

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Ph.D.​ progress report

Well, here I am, still waiting to get my work reviewed, as it is ready to hand in (I think). I have had to create my own personal timeline and manage those people around me as the time slips away and nothing really moves forward.  I could, of course, write endlessly and fix up every mistake and rewrite a million pages again, but what is the point. All things must come to an end and so it is with my thesis. Finished on time, except for others. Therefore it’s off to the editor by the end of this month, whether it is reviewed or not. Great, I am glad that I have come to a point where I feel it is done, so the stress has gone.

Once again I have just returned from a trip to New Zealand, a quick trip this time, but I also managed to get in a conference on palliative care, which was very interesting. Have you ever written about someone, then met them and they totally live up to your expectations? This happen to me in NZ. For ages I have been referencing a person who is researching on the same topic. I have enjoyed her work and always thought that we agreed on many issues. And that we are only a few of the people who are undertaking research on end of life matters. It was incredible to meet her in person and to discover that she such a spiritual warrior and very knowledgeable on end of life matters related to Indigenous peoples.

My goals for the end of this month are to send my theses to the editor and to complete all the referencing and bits and pieces that go with the final edit.

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Home again

Back from Canada and my ankle works again. Well,  I guess August has flown blow, I spent most of August in Brisbane waiting for the birth of my 12th grandchild. Elodie arrived safe and sound and a week after her due date, my birthday. The Canadian trip was very rewarding with quite a few people attending my session on matters related to the end of life. I had a few tricky questions on death and dying to answer, but it was enlightening to think that some people do not realise that Celtic people have their own spirituality. This concept seemed incredulous, what a pity that all the witches were burnt and their consorts were punished and banished from the earth. I noticed tonight on the news that there is a resurgence of Celtic spirituality concepts in western countries. This has been a long time coming.

I am writing my Ph.D. again, slowly, as I have passed my date now, the urgency to complete does not seem so necessary. It is done, now just rearranging words, to suit the final copy. I have also spent August rewriting the book chapter and that was a marathon. It has gone in again so now I wait to see if it has been accepted.

It’s really late at night as I write this, and I am only just getting started on my assignment marking. It’s a long haul marking papers, trying to keep awake while I am lulled into complete boredom. I have also started back at work as the clinical educator, working with students. This is a nice change from the hard slog of the wards.

Until next month, I will see how far I get on my writing 🙂


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On my feet

On my feet again, it’s been a difficult few months hobbling around. Now, I really am greatful to have two working legs.

I am getting ready to travel to a conference in Canada to present my final research findings. This will be the culmination of my research and I hope that I can succinctly deliver the important points from a huge theses in half an hour. I guess I’ll find out soon.

I have just completed a draft chapter for a book and I’m waiting to hear back from the reviewers. It is well worth the effort to see my research being published. My theses seems to be in limbo. Somewhere between the final draft and lots of red lines. Ho hum, it is incredible to think that after all that writing it sits, gathering dust and cobwebs waiting to be reviewed in between edits. No matter when I thought I’d be finished it remains up to others to have the final say. So I will give it a rest for awhile, at least until after my trip to Canada.

The good thing about writing and researching so much is that there is a lot of information that can gathered to inform others as the hard work has been done.

Last month I travelled to New Zealand for a family funeral. It is a pity that most of us are so busy that time spent with extended family members is only put aside for weddings and funerals. I met some family members that I have never previously seen. It was a great few days visiting my childhood neighbourhood. And generally resting up for my next travel epic. This is a photo of my family home many years ago in Auckland. I’m sure if the walls could speak there would be many stories to tell. It was the last place that I saw my father alive, when I was six years old.



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All broken things

Ok so that is out of the way, now to document my ankle story. Three weeks ago I was walking/running my giant poodle that was hit by a car. This dog had a fractured femur and had to have it removed. This required rehab, regular walking on the leash. This is what I was doing when plop, I fell over on my ankle and heard a snap, sure enough, it was broken.

Talk about painful, unbelievable and when I made it into A&E and was asked to assign a number to the pain, I thought that it was the most ridiculous thing that I could do.Pain is subjective and my 10 is not your 10/10 so there. It turned out I was right. I said to the nurse my pain was 10/10. She said ‘ oh well’ at least you are  honest go and sit down and we’ll call you later, first of all, walk around to Xray it is just around the corner.”

Oh dear, I had to ask for ice to be applied, I had to ask for a panadol and I had to put my foot up on the chair next door to my seat. Grey hair, denoted the lowest triage number, just sit, walk around to Xray, nothing for pain, no ice. This just wasn’t how I have treated people of any age with a brake of any sort. I always went out of my way to help people not to ignore them. Just to add insult to injury A & E was not busy. I had picked a good time to arrive.

The doctor called me into the room, after looking at my Xray. He watched me walk past the wheelchair, trying to hobble into the room without any walking aids. He knew that I had broken my ankle, he had the pictures to prove it….God damn it, couldn’t, shouldn’t he have said you must not walk on that break. I thought perhaps that it was a strain I had not seen the pictures.!!!!!

So, three weeks later I am still eating painkillers although less frequently. And I am hobbling around with an enormous boot on my leg. Here is hoping that it all heals quickly and smoothly.

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Time Flies: hermeneutic phenomenology the mind field

I can’t believe that I have missed another month, I thought that I had written a blog entry in April but it does seem that I missed it, yikes!

First I must write on my where I am up to with my Ph.D. I have turned in my final draft, I say it is my final draft because I am over it for awhile. It can be so isolating sitting and thinking and writing day after day.  It has now blown out to 95 thousand words, yikes. I will most likely have to reduce this again when I get it back, but for now, I really can’t bear to think about it. I have spent so many agonising days, thinking and writing. I need some space now. Well at least for a couple of days while I mark some assignments. So, I think it would be helpful if I write a few things that I think would be helpful to others while I am thinking about it all.

# First make sure that you whittle down your topic to the lowest common denominator, check that your research question is the smallest that it can be. It is much easier at the end if your research is refined at the start.  Just one small question can elicit enormous data even if you think it won’t. Keep asking yourself why and how until there is no answer

#At the start of the PhD journey make many mind maps, bubbles that are linked to chapters in this way you will have a clear direction forward. Bubbles are easy to move around and delete and add if you need to.

# Within these bubbles add ideas, ask yourself further questions, until you can’t ask any other questions. Write down what comes up, this can all be done while you are sorting out the paperwork and enrolling in the course unit. Each time you ask another question and write it down you will be getting clearer on the topic

# There is a tendency not to talk to others about your topic. This could be due to many reasons, professional jealousy, topic sharing, or embarrassment because you don’t think it is worthy. So find someone who you can talk too. The more you discuss your topic and issues with a buddy the clearer you will be able to articulate your research and this will be important when it comes to understanding the literature and asking more questions. Especially when you asked if there are any questions and how can you know if you do not know what is ahead or what is required.

# If you can’t find enough material then you are most likely not reading widely enough then if you have too much material you have read enough, be aware that it is time to stop reading.

# If you like writing then write, do not stop because someone thinks that you are writing too much. If I had not been writing when the pen struck then I would not have had enough material when I couldn’t write due to headaches, babysitting, illness, and work. I am grateful that my writing was constant and continuous. Having more material enabled me to fill in the gaps to cut out pieces, exchange pieces and make sense of it all

#Attend conferences, this was one of the strongest points for me, it enabled the movement of ideas, it enabled me to gather my ideas and make sense of my work as it progressed. It also gave me some outcomes towards the end of my Ph.D

# Make sure you use your topic question throughout your writing this will bring you back to the core of your question and keep you on track and focused on the question.

# Don’t get offended if your work is returned with lots of red marks on it. This is great at least it has been reviewed. And while anyone can read it and ask why or how this bit fits others will also make those connections so consider this a blessing and keep working don’t get discouraged at it will definitely lead to a refined end product. One that you can be proud of.

Right then that’s it for now… be continued

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Marching forward…

I decided to post again this month,  as the link in my thesis led me to my blog, and I wanted to check that it was working. It is really good to share all these incredible struggles that I go through not only to look back and see that although at the time of writing some issues seem impossible to get over, when looking back they have resolved and morphed into a new form. But also, so that others who are undertaking a PhD know that this is the process. That you are not going crazy, that your topic is still worthwhile, even though after writing and writing and getting lost in the words in the end it does make some sense.

I find it is a good practice for me to rest for a couple of days then go back and see if what I have been steeped in is making sense. Otherwise, there is a tendency for me to get lost in an information avalanche. Thinking back to actually being fluent in typing correctly is a real gift, especially in this age of technology where everything is typed. Typing was the first skill I learnt as a wee thing, 16 years old, just out of school and working in an office. My sister and I were living by ourselves and we had to find some way of coping in an adult world. We went to typing school, I soon dropped out when I lost interest and found that I just couldn’t get the words to match my fingers tapping. My sister who is a year older seemed to be able to coordinate the tapping with the letters and she managed to make fewer mistakes.

I do think for anyone who is contemplating writing a thesis learning how to move your fingers with your thoughts is a must and the reason that I have been able to write so many words at speed of thought goes with learning how to type. If I had to physically write every word, and rewrite mistakes and then rewrite the final form it would be impossible as arthritis has a hold on my hands making writing almost impossible, and certainly not possible at the speed that I can think  and type.

Nevertheless this skill is more valuable today years after I originally learnt it, it just goes to show that every learned skill is never wasted, and that I can type much faster now than I could at 16. I have had a few days off, at yet another concert. Lucky me!

This time to Adelaide, the most important thing to me about these concerts is that besides the music I get some important concentrated family time with my sons and daughters. The best time ever, which would not materialise if I didn’t make an effort to travel to distant places and spend quality time with them away from their usual daily activities. These are the days that I recall the most in my life, not the days I spend typing at the keyboard but the days shared with my family where we get to laugh and eat together and have some fun. Rufus Wainwright was of course just the best, his opera was magical and his rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ was touching.

The Adelaide orchestra was fantastic and it was real pleasure to be immersed in the live music, strings, and keys all making an impressive sound. I also have new job, woo hoo, I didn’t think that would happen, it is online and fantastic to have work from home. I can swap from my class to my thesis without leaving this space, lucky me.

That’s right, up close and personal with Rufus, in his ruby shoes singing,  best night ever.





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Uh Oh March Already

Well, it seems that I didn’t get here in Feb so I had better do two blogs in March. Although I am in the same place at the same time doing the same thing, that’s right, writing I have managed to get through my funk.

I have inserted a picture of the huge crowd that found joy in listening to an afternoon of music as the sun went down. I think as a community we need to get together more often, to spend time amongst others with a common link, that being the sound of music, which has the ability to uplift the spirit. Human beings are social beings and simply living and working in an isolated environment can create a void of the spirit found in the company of others with like minds. The grounds by the foreshore were crowded with people dancing and swaying to the music. Many, like me had travelled for hours to share in the joyful experience, an out door concert, picnic blankets and baskets, feet moving to the sounds of beating drums.

Also, included here is a new family member, who has managed to bring lots of love to the small family unit. Sophie, the dancing poodle.


Although I didn’t realise it at the time that I wrote my previous blog, the picture of the elephant managed to give me insight on how to move forward, in my thesis. I was unable to collate all the information it seemed to much to collate 80 thousand words into a final note. OMG.
However, it happened and I found in afternoon it all came together, I paused and sat for a while letting all the information sink into some sort of form and ideas started to sprout, thank goodness for that. Ganesh, the elephant God managed to pack up my troubles and move me through the mud.

Now in March I find that I am indeed wrapping this thesis up, putting it into a final whole and making sense of all the data collection. I am at the stage of refining the work, adding references and sorting out the sentences that make up the paragraphs that make up the pages. Ensuring that it all flows and makes sense, in a coherent sort of way. I have now a whole document of 82 thousand words, amazing!
Lets see what happens in my next blog.

I must remember that this thesis On the Lived Experience Toward the End of Life contains words, thoughts and expressions of those who may not be living now, and no matter of what I think of my writing the ideas expressed by the participants or storytellers in this thesis remain powerful and sacred last words. And as such must be honoured.

I had a short stint away in Brisbane going to a concert, which was fabulous. Although, I was worrying about getting back to my writing I enjoyed the break away. There is no doubt that Xavier Rudd holds a space that is inclusive of all, his music is so uplifting and reminiscent of the old hippy days where love and peace were celebrated. Despite the war that was raging.
So, I leave this post with a picture and link to the music of Xavier Rudd.

Take a stroll to the nearest waters and remember your place, what does the heart say, follow the sun …….which way the wind blows when this day is done.

Posted in about that thesis, aged care, caring, death matters, family and pets, family matters, health and illness, health and wellness, living at the end of life, loving pets, Nursing, Universal power, writing a thesis in a bush setting | Leave a comment