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

Tag Archives: Introduction

My second Fitness blog

My second Fitness blog.

Westie Fitness

So far I’m still in my first week of training. It has been rough!

My thighs are killing me! The temperature has been swinging like a pendulum, hot now cold and raining. My technology assistance has been a bit sporadic, I started with one app which let me down – not only the app but also the support. However, Map My Run has been looking after me quite nicely. So far I have tracked my run “around the block*” twice with that application and it’s served the purpose splendidly, as well as helping me track my cool-down walks, my trips to the swimming pool, and my swimming sessions.

However, one of my swimming sessions had to be cancelled – due to the massive storm we experienced on Christmas Eve, the outdoor pool was closed in case of lightning, while at the same time the indoor pool is closed for repair.

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Thank God I’m a (long-haired) Country Boy

Here in Australia, dogs are about as useful as at least three people on almost any farm which relies on animals rather than some sort of crop. My rural upbringing is why my dogs of choice are somewhere between knee and waist high – at the moment we have a border collie, as well as a border collie cross.

This photo shows me at about 16 years of age. Apparently that’s the prime of our life, right?

Westie sometime around 1986 to 88

My hair is shorter, my glasses smaller, but most people would easily recognise me as still the same guy.

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.

100 Club

Finishing the puzzle… 100th post
Image thanks to Techpedia

Crack the champaign, I’ve hit the Hundred Club of blogging.

Back a long time ago, ImaWestie posted his first comment on Sacha Molitorisz’ blog Whose Your Daddy at the Sydney Morning Herald. In those comments I record my earliest concern:

¶ on a totally seperate note, my wife and I are at a point where we would be delighted to hear our youngest swearing, if only he would talk.

At what age should we be how worried about our son pretty much being non-vocal?

SM, if anyone sensibly wants to contact me on this please pass along my details to them.

Posted by: ImaWestie on April 26, 2008 9:36 PM

So as early as April of 2008 – four years ago, just before his third birthday – I was already concerned about my son’s development.

I think my fully bogan alter-ego appeared as I had already had about enough of being concerned about who I was, where I worked, and who my kids are, when I was looking to talk about a range of topics online.

Since that first appearance, I’ve sprouted up on News Limiteds comments section, the Whirlpool technology forum, on a range of games websites, and continued to appear on the Sydney Morning Herald website from time to time.

I also wandered along to the Autism United community, where I learned so much, and was inspired to record my thoughts, experience and emotions onto blog format. Some of what I wanted to write didn’t fit in amost such a well defined community, so here I came to WordPress.

That puzzle there remains extremely relevant. Tonight, with our dinner, my wife and I celebrated as we used bribery to tempt our youngest son with yoghurt, to get him to eat one (!) pea and one tiny carrot stick. Absolutely smothered in red, tangy, sugery, terrible…. tomato sauce.

But it was a win.

Four and a quarter years down the track, Westie and Mrs Westy are continuing our adventure, hoping we continue to challenge all three of our children, learn more than just what we have to, and expand not just our own horizons but the horizons of our children, too.

Hope to hear more from all of you who like to drop in and “like” my posts without leaving more to let me know what you think. If you have something to add to my writing, to what I know about Autism, being a father or husband, a coach to a junior AFL team, a cyclist or an IT Professional. I’d love to hear it. Because while I might be at my 100th post, that puzzle is far from complete.


New Beginnings

Here I am home from another week away. A jam-packed full week it was, too, with visits from different branches of the family, and work deciding to relocate about a hundred people between a few different buildings – enough that I decided by lunch time that the week was finished… so I ended up being home early.

So where were the new starts?

There was myself, checking out Pinterest. Are you on there? If you are, let me know! So far, I’m still struggling to work out what to do with it.

There is my mate Alan, starting out his blog With Sauce On That? I’m really hoping that he is heading out this weekend sometime and there will be a new blog telling us all about another place to eat around Canberra.

And my own wife WestyBec getting Westycentral off the ground. Her blog is going to be a lot more hands-on with the struggles of raising kids and living in a home with Autism than mine will be for the next while – given that I’m now a bit of a visitor in my own home.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping that I’ll be giving my kids a chance to catch up with my parents – who they have not seen for a while – before my parents get their motorhome fixed so they can head North for the rest of the Winter.

Where-ever you are, I hope you’re heading into a great weekend with your family.

Wheely Wednesday

It’s a fact of life, that the better a habit is for you, the easier it is to break and the harder it is to form.

One week ago, marked my transition from One Day to Day One with regards to cycling to work in Canberra. This put me back onto the path to the great habit I formed in 2011, which saw me sell a car I hadn’t driven in six weeks due to riding a bicycle to get from home to a railway station so I could catch the train to work.

Today’s time

The habit of hopping into a warm cosy car is very easy to slip into given both geography and climatic conditions of Canberra. Lately we’ve been having sub-zero temperatures (metric sub-zero) temperatures, and the hills around here… whoever named Mount Druitt was telling lies, but Mount Stromlo seems aptly named.

So when someone can actually make that leap from doing something once, to doing something again, it is an equally important step in developing a habit. Our lives are shaped far more strongly by our habits rather than what we do once – unless of course our habit is to flit from one once-in-a-lifetime experience to the next.

I’m hoping to track my ride times, and see an improvement that is based not on external factors such as equipment, but on myself only.

Last year, a ride of about 5 km took me about 25 minutes – 5 minutes per km, or 12 km per hour.

This year, a ride of about 12 km is taking me about 1 hour 15 minutes. If I can get back to my fitness level from last year that will come down by more than 10 minutes – giving me an extra 20 minutes a day (I have to come home in the afternoon, too!).

Time I can spend doing something I enjoy – including maybe, “riding further“?


PS. A special shoutout to Westybec. Sucks to hear that while I’m away in Canberra she’s really crook at home with three kids. Hope to hear you’re on the mend soon, dear.

With Sauce On That

My good mate Alan has launched a new food-focussed blog over at With Sauce On That?

With his knowledge of the Canberra food scene, and his fervent enjoyment of 4-square and other social media fueling his interest to go further – I really look forward to reading what he actually has to say in a meaningful way rather than the very wonderfully presented photos with one-liners I’ve been seeing from him on his Instagram feed.

One of Alans fantastic food-porn pictures

One of Alans fantastic food-porn pictures


Dear 50 Cent

Over at Twitter, that happening guy 50 Cent seems to have put his foot in it.

Apparently this guy was once in a special ed class. So his comment aimed at a special ed student was intended as being tongue in cheek.

Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t tend to present sarcasm all that well. Hash-tags can go a long way to fixing that, by spelling out that “hey, this is a joke.” Unfortunately, especially if you are discussing a group who are characterised by not always picking up social queues – well, you can’t really rely on those social queues being picked up on.

Did you join in the “#Dear 50 cent” campaign?

Have you joined in other Twitter campaigns? Did they achieve anything?

I have certainly joined into #youmightbeanautismparentif, and the #fatmumslim photo-a-day challenge for July. Let me know, what drives your social media and blogging.

Seven Little Westies

Such an eventful weekend.

After my previous entry regarding my daughters birthday,  we had given up for the day that our dog Lizzie would be having her puppies before I left for work for the week. Bec went out into the cold night air to do one last check of where Lizzie was holed up in the litter box we had prepared for her (which I might add would double quite readily for a bed for any one of my children… as long as we moved it inside 😉 ).

Of course, Lizzie had given birth to several puppies by then, so off we went to grab my daughter and show her the little bundles of joy. We’re fingers crossed that Lizzie continues to be a great mum.

Lizzie and Princess P with litter number two


As of today, there are seven puppies in the litter, and all eight dogs are doing great.

Ten years. Oh, my!

There are moments in life that seem to have been designed to make people stop, and think.

To me, birthdays with a 0 in them seem to have been purposely invented just to make people stop, and think. Tomorrow, my Princess P turns 10.

Things have changed. Almost all of them are “qualitative” changes. Clearly, as she is my eldest child, so we have gone from “childless” to “parents” – parents times three, including one diagnosed with Autism.

We have gone from renters, to homeowners.

We have said goodbye to our longtime pet dog, Mollie, who has gone “to the farm” where all good dogs end up.

Ten years ago, I had a mobile phone – my wife, who worked in the same place every day, did not because “why would she need one?

I was leaving to work from home every day. Right now, I leave on Monday and come home on Friday.

We had dial-up internet, and connected to sites like MySpace, and used download services like Napster.

All my photos from then, were taken on film.

I had to think about what I could do on the weekend. Now I have to think about what I can not do on any given weekend.

I had been in the Army Reserve for about 11 years, but between children and their changes in training requirements that is no more.


To my Princess P, I say thank you for changing my life, along with your brothers, you have bought boundless happiness. I hope your birthday tomorrow is great and we have as much fun getting you from 10 to 20 as we had getting you from 0 to 10.

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