Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Monthly Archives: October 2012

Welcome to November: the 30 day challenge

Thanks to know your meme, I’m going to head down a 30 day challenge for November. The list of topics provided there is:

Day 01 — your favorite song
Day 02 — your favorite movie
Day 03 — your favorite television program
Day 04 — your favorite book
Day 05 — your favorite quote
Day 06 — whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — a photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — a photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — a photo you took
Day 10 — a photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — a photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — a fictional book
Day 14 — a non-fictional book
Day 15 — a fanfic
Day 16 — a song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — an art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — a talent of yours
Day 20 — a hobby of yours
Day 21 — a recipe
Day 22 — a website
Day 23 — a youtube video
Day 24 — whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — your day, in great detail
Day 26 — your week, in great detail
Day 27 — this month, in great detail
Day 28 — this year, in great detail
Day 29 — hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — whatever tickles your fancy

I’m rather annoyed that I am turning to sources of inspiration such as this to provide me with topics to write about, however, I am going to feel free to substitute my own thoughts at random as they present themselves. Indeed, some of those topics above – not just the topics, but also the sequence – seem to jump out at me as being boring as all hell. A whole month worth of topics is quite an effort to attempt to list, given such a generic term of reference. My inspirations for blogging stems much more from time spent with my own family, rather than time spent away from home, at work in Canberra. See you next month!


Stay safe from the Superstorm

As a child, I lived alongside the Murrumbidgee River and being evacuated a couple of times a year or so was a pretty regular thing. With that in mind… if you are in harms way right now, I wish you all the best and that you are with somebody important to you during this difficult time. For the rest of us…

Look classy, dance cheesy, even if you’re in water up to your waist

Westie: The earliest years

I have written quite a bit of my opinion and the life of my kids here at WordPress. I have been thinking for a little while that I should take some time to document my memories, as fragmented as they are, and some stories from my own parents, uncles, aunties and cousins, because so many things from my own life are so totally different to the current experience.

Westie (striped shirt) and Cathode Ray, with an un-named horse, probably at Bidgee Pony Club, about 1976. Photo thanks to Cathode Ray.

My own lifetime has spanned from the very early 1970’s through so far to the twenny-teens. Five decades and beyond. Life has changed, just a little bit.

I came along after the “formal” metrification and decimalisation of Australia – in measurements and currency. In my preschool and early school years, “two bob” was an inherited time from pre-decimal Australian currency (when what it  meant I don’t even really know for sure) to mean “20 cents.” Strangely, I don’t recall anyone ever talking about anything other than “two bob.” I think I really need to ask Old Man Westy about that one. In that time, photographs have gone from a black-and-white extravagance to the capability of a portable device we all take for granted – our mobile telephone.

As a young Aussie bush kid in the 70’s – while all the speed limits were in kilometers per hour, and the teacher only ever talked in centimeters, my parents had moved twice before they started talking in meters, sometime in 1978 or so. The bus-stop was a mile or so up the dirt driveway, and the watermark in the dining room was about seven foot higher than the floor (I really need to dig up the photo that goes with that description).

The telephone and the television seemed to still be novelty items in my youth, things that people were still coming to grips with being in every home. In my lifetime though there has always been some type of television, it has gone from a massive black-and-white set, through thirty or so years of analogue colour television, to todays digital broadcasts presented on massive flat-screen sets. It would not surprise me if the computer monitor my youngest son has on his desk, is larger than the black and white family tv was, when I was watching Play School so many years ago.

While television and telephones sum up the continuous change in technology, there are many other aspects of technology which are totally new or revolutionary in my lifetime. These, I will come to in later posts. The most disappointing though is that in my lifetime, horseback transport in this country has gone from “less than unusual” to “quite uncommon” to “oh? People still do that?” I think the horses are the biggest difference between my own childhood, and that of my children.

Silent Sunday


Bob the Builder Fan, mixing Bob the Builder with Angry Birds



Magpie with his Linux Geek and Minecraft geek hats on



Princess P joins in with Bob the Builder Fan for some COOPERATIVE imaginative play.



Lizzie the Border Collie




Taxing Times

The end of October marks the last day which Australians may submit their own income tax returns. For most of us, an income tax return is an opportunity to claim back overpayments made on our behalf by our employer, so most Australians see income tax returns as a chance to get some of their own money back.

Being the last possible minute, of course, I have been busy doing my own tax.

I have spent far too much of my day tracking down all the various pieces of information I needed, and even then I was unable to get absolutely everything. Bec tried her best to keep the house peaceful for me, taking Princess P and Magpie out tfor quite a while. It wasn’t quite enoug time, but it was greatly appreciated.


Hmm. If the return I submitted has any accuracy to it. I will be able to come up with something great. If it’s not, I’m probably getting audited!

Friday follies

It seems at the age of Seven years, my youngest son is getting into role-playing, imaginative play and cooperative play. This is the scene I had in front of me this evening, as Better Homes and Gardening was discussing constructing a concrete path out came the Bob the Builder toys including Tumbler the premix concrete truck. 20121026-203255.jpg

And now the Angry Birds are joining in …


Bullyed out of the blogoshpere?

As I mentioned the other day, there has been some controversy regarding “the R-word” which reverberated around the sepecial-needs-blogosphere quite quickly. Some woman seems to be the female American television equivalent of Australia’s own Alan Jones. All this in way of background to what has occurred since.

I find it ironic that a bunch of parents of special needs children – including say children who are on the Autism spectrum – have such difficulty in understanding that many of the parents of children with similar needs to their own children, themselves potentially have limited communication skills. Limited empathy. Limited perception in language. All of this is on top of the usual issue that in writing down our verbal language, nuance of intonation can be totally lost.

This issue has come to a head during a Presidential election campaign. Which means, feelings are running high enough. So that when one person with a particular political persuasion comes head to head with another person of the opposing political persuasion, the opportunity to misunderstand or misrepresent goes through the roof.

I have found it really challenging to see how quickly people take their interactions from discussing the words of a political candidate, to their opinion of the effect of those words, to swearing at each other or using terribly derogatory names about each other.

Considering that all this started with one person using the R-word as a term of derision, that’s pretty ironic.

And when it reaches the extent that people “take a break” from Twitter, or Facebook, or writing a blog. It’s pretty terrible.


The Internet is a big place. If you disagree with me, feel free to tell me politely, then move on. I’m too busy to engage in a shit-fight.

Wordless Wednesday – a first!

Our bantam hen finally laid an egg.
Stolen from my wife, @Westybec

How to not present an argument

For those who ignore politics, the USA is in the midst of a presidential campaign. Unfortunately I’m giving oxygen to a tweet from a person I’ve never heard of due to the totally inappropriate method used to attempt to sway opinion: attempting to degrade the person Coulter feels the least positively of.

My understanding in life is that if I feel positively about something, I can provide the world with the great benefit of telling everyone how wonderful that positive aspect of my life is. It’s irrelevant what it is that I like; simply by talking about what I like I will spread knowledge about that issue to those I come in contact with.

In this regard, both presidential candidates have a range of policies. Some of those policies on each side, any person could find a reason to agree with – surely, most people could agree that one of these guys would like to ensure that affordable healthcare is available to everyone. The other guy, would like to regain control over the countries spending habit.

Both of those are positive statements which I could easily build on as an argument for why a person should vote one way or the other.

Stating that one of these people seems to have a disability, is not. In fact, stating that one of these people seems to have a disability, and that’s a reason to not vote for them, would just highlight the ignorance and intolerance of the person making the comment. If the most positive thing you have to say, is negative, then probably you should do the world a favor and keep your comments to yourself.

This person has “mild mental retardation” according to DSM-IV – or in lay terms they are retarded.

My youngest son

If you think about using the word “retard” to describe something, think of this person before you use that word. This person loves life, and puts everything he has into what he does: learning to talk. Learning to read. Engaging with his brother, sister, and parents. Exploring exactly how much he can do with his body. He lives and loves without boundaries or limits.

That is what retarded people do. And just like people who are not retarded, they do a lot of other things, too.

If you’re not a doctor or a mechanic, you’re probably using it poorly. It should also be noted that as of DSM-V, the term “retarded” won’t even have a medical connotation – because it has become such a negative term it is being excised even from medical use.

If you use this word. Please stop. Unless you are a mechanic and you are discussing the operation of an internal combustion engine, and really know who you are talking to.

School camp

Today, my little Magpie has gone away on school camp. I think. Either that or I am in Canberra and I’ve got the day wrong …
However even if I have the day incorrect the point remains unchanged: he is as excited as all hell about his camp. He is in the wonderful situation that he has been on a few camps now and he seems to love them. It is a quirk of his mix of personality and makeup that as I was at his age, he is happy to engage with anyone. Everyone is a friend, it’s just that some friends he has yet to meet.

So far he is yet to come home from a camp disappointed, however he did express some annoyance that rappelling and rock climbing have both been removed from the list of activities.

Good luck at your camp Magpie. It will be great.


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