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

Category Archives: Personal & family history


Normal scheduled services will resume…. Well, soon.
For tonight, you get this snapshot.

Look back two posts ago. A year has passed.
Goals were set. In stone ways those goals have been met.

The Westies don’t live in Western Sydney any more. We now live in Canberra, having moved from one city to the other on Magpies 10th birthday.

Three kids, in two new schools.
One has made the transition not only between States, but from primary school to high school. So far, so well.

One son has moved from one mainstream class to another. It seems ?

***. the only thing that has changed, is that he has to use Skype, or a Hangout, to talk to his friends in Sydney now instead of talking to them in the playground. He is into the school seemingly as though he has been there since Kindergarten. Except his stress is through the roof…

The youngest is in a Learning Support Unit – Autism. It is the first year of operation for the unit, and so far, it’s very telling. It seems though to be working ok.

I have gone from contacting to consulting. It seems very similar so far. I’m wondering if it will be long lasting or if I will return to contracting shortly?

Again goals are being set, this time the span is two years. By the time Magpie starts high school, we are aiming to be living in a newer, larger home. Again, without selling any properties.

Since my redundancy in 2011, I have bought two more houses than I owned in 2010. My goal is to continue buying at least one property every two years… Eight properties by the time I turn 50…. Eight properties by the time my Autistic son is considering what happens after high school.

To achieve such ambitions will need a set of sacrifices to be considered, and either accepted or discarded. Discarding to many will demands a reassessment of the goal.

So far the goals seem worthwhile. Let’s see what Christmas 2014 had in store for us.


Sad Songs

It has been pointed out to me before that I am drawn to war protest songs.

This one particularly strikes a chord with me.

Like I Was Only 19, it is a song I often listen to on the way between home and work. I hope you enjoy it.

The Lost Continent

Book cover art thanks to Wikimedia

Sometime in 1996 or so, it was all over Usenet: Terry Pratchett was writing a novel, set in the mythical land of Fourecks. And so a couple of years later, with much fanfare, it was written, and published, and launched – here in Australia.

Being massive fantasy fiction geeks, my wife and I thought this was fantastic. Our favorite author, writing about a fantasy version of the country where we live. I was working in the Sydney CBD at the time, and found that Pterry himself would be attending a book signing at a major bookstore.

So, off I set one “lunch-time” (assuming a public servants definition of lunch-time being some flexible time between about 10:30 am and 3:30 pm), to line up, buy a book, and get it signed. I got there, just at the beginning of my lunch “hour,” to line up for – well it can’t have been more than 55 minutes or so, given I was only on my lunch break for one hour – as long as it took – to get The Author to sign this magnificent work of fiction.

Nullus sanguine — Terry Pratchett

Three hours, to get the book signed in about two minutes.


Then I get home, give Bec the book and she says… “but it’s hardcover?”

The things we do for love, and it gets no recognition.

Movies of my life

Throughout my life, I have been happy to get absolutely engrossed in a wide range of movies.

I was born in the era of colour movies in the cinema, and black and white ones on the television at home. Nobody owned a VCR because video tape hadn’t been commercialised – leg alone PVR’s! My earliest movie memories are all “Cowboy and Indian” movies with actors like The Duke.

Then on a trip to visit my cousins we went and watched Grease at the cinema. It is the first movie I remember seeing at the cinema and it stayed with me for a very long time. A close second was Spielburg’s ET, because it was the first movie I recall seeing at a drive-in (remember those? 😉 )

For a while I was a very big fan of Star Wars, mainly Episode IV: A New Hope. However the release of the second (prequel) trilogy has taken the shine off the series for me.

I loved The Matrix series, along with Lord of the Rings, and I am very much looking forward to The Hobbit (which – gasp! – I have never read!)

However, right now, my favorite movies would be the Bourne series. Including the most recent one! If you have not yet seen it, you should.

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.

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