Pillars of Pine

Pillars of Pine

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My week on Pain-Killers

Last Thursday, I went to see the dentist to have a tooth fixed.  After an examination, the dentist suggested that although he could fix it, there would be much more filling than tooth, leaving it weak and vulnerable to breaks, so he suggested having it pulled.  As it was a back tooth, this did not concern me too greatly, so, I ‘gritted my teeth’, and prepared myself for the procedure. 

The bleeding stopped within a few hours, and it seemed all was going according to plan.  For the next two days, I was somewhat sore, but it was tolerable.  However, on the third day, the pain became greater, and by the forth, I was positively in agony.  I wondered why this could be, and whisked out my laptop and the old ‘Google’ page to do some research. 

I discovered that there is a thing called ‘dry socket’.  This is, when the blood clot that is supposed to form over the extraction point is either dissolved or dislodged, leaving the bone and the socket open to the air, which can lead to an infection.   So, early on the morning of Day 5, I phoned the dentist and explained the situation.  They in turn slotted me into a late afternoon appointment. 

By the time the afternoon rolled around, I was still in severe pain.  The dentist took a look, and then asked if I had been drinking or smoking following the extraction.  When I answered in the negative, he seemed a little confused, stating that they were the two most common reasons a blood clot would come dislodged. 

After examining the site, he decided that the wound was healing, although it was ‘possible’ an infection had occurred within the wound.  He prescribed antibiotics, but insisted that normal Panadol would do the trick for the pain, and that I was not in need of stronger pain killers – for I should, after all, expect ‘some discomfort’ after an extraction.  Some Discomfort’?  Of course, there should be ‘some discomfort’, I thought – but it’s not ‘some discomfort’ that keeps one awake all night, rocking back and forth in a chair, holing your face and groaning. 

I headed around to the chemist, picked up the antibiotics, but also picked up the strongest pain killers they could give me without a prescription.  And so my week of pain-killers began – often, I’d be sitting in the chair or on the edge of the bed, rocking back and forth in pain, or pacing the hallway, just waiting for the clock to tick over so that I could have the next dose of pain relief.  I was careful to take the maximum dosage, but no more, and once again, did lots of research online to find out what the maximum safe dosages were.  

During the week, I often found myself looking at the tablets and / or other painkillers, and fighting the temptation to take ‘just one more’. Usually, it took around 20-30 minutes for the pain killers to kick in, but they would then only last an hour or so, before wearing off and the excruciating pain returned.   I gained such an understanding and compassion for those people who overdose on painkillers, or become addicted to them – how easy it would be.  Yes, I had an infected tooth, but I knew this was a temporary thing – in a week or so, it should be mostly healed.  But what of those people who live in constant pain, with little chance of making a full recovery? 

After 2-3 days on the antibiotics, I finally felt the pain begin to lessen.  By this time, I had been on painkillers, every 4 hours, for a week, and the nausea had begun.  While the pain had started to decrease, I still was not sleeping, as now, whenever I lay down I wanted to throw up.  So, instead of 2 tablets every 4 hours, I tried taking 1 tablet every 2 hours, and then slowly increased the time period, so that I was dropping back the dosage as much as I could.

Over the next few days, I began to feel much better.  The pain is still there – but it is significantly reduced, and I am beginning to feel like a ‘normal’ person again.  I feel like I lost a whole week – I had so much planned, being the last week of the holidays – and the week slipped past me.  But, the main thing is that the socket is healing.  The antibiotics have certainly helped with the infection, and I hope that in another week or so, I can be off the pain killers entirely. 

The best thing about it all is that, the day before the tooth was removed, I had a lump cut and burnt off my arm.  I’ve not experienced any pain at all at the site – funny about that! - it’s healed up beautifully!

Please pray today for all those who live with constant pain and those who rely on pain killers full-time.  May God grant them strength, peace, and a good night’s sleep.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

'The Plan: 2012' - Part 1

As promised, I shall be posting our curriculum plans for the up and coming school year.

I"ll start at the top, with the plans for our son, who is 17, and this will be his final year - year 12!   The plan below is just that;  a 'plan'.  I've no doubt that things will change (they always do!), and there's bound to be some things we don't get to at all.  But having said that, this is what the plans are at this stage:

Maths:          Life of Fred – Geometry

Writing:         One Year Adventure Novel (Terms 1 & 2)
                    (Australian History-Based Writing Lessons in T3 & 4)

English:          English for Australian Schools, Book 4

Religion:       Understanding the Scriptures
                    Catholic Morality

Science:        Apologia Chemistry

Logic:           Critical Thinking Book 1 and 2

Computer:     Movie Making  (completely a 'natural learning / hands on' approach)

Literature:          Reading List:
q       At the Back of the North Wind
q       The Chyrsalids
q       The Yearling
q       Men of Iron
q       The Hobbit
q       Wind in the Willows
q       The Walking Drum
q       A Tale of Two Cities
q       I Can Jump Puddles
q       The Great Divorce
q       DVD  - Seven Pounds

History:          Medieval Reading List:
q       Christopher Columbus
q       He Went With Marco Polo
q       Lay Seige to Heaven
q       Novel of Choice
q       Magellan’s Voyage
q       Kateri Tekawitha
q       Indian Boyhood
q       He Went with Captain Cook
q       Benjamin Franklin
q       Mother Theresa DVD
q       1812 Overture

History:  Terms 3 & 4:   Australian History – Based Writing Lessons

Australian History in Movies:  two episodes or movies per week.

Music:  Harmonica
            Concert Band – Percussion
            Choir – Singing

Health and PE:       Badminton, Volleyball, Swimming & Archery


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Witch No More....

Today, I had a wart sliced and then burnt off my arm.

So, to all those who have called me a witch (and there have been a couple), I'm turning over a new leaf, and living a life without warts - lol!

Tomorrow - it's off to the dentist to fix this broken tooth - I won't know myself....


Friday, January 13, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Fabulous Friday Happenings:

1.  We finally put up our badminton net.  After six years of waiting, I grabbed this morning to put it up myself.  After organising its position, etc., I did call in the 'man-power' to help with the hammering, but it's now up, and has been put to good use! 

2.  We have set a date for music exams.  Our dd needs to register by March 2nd, and the exams will take place in May.  This will be her first 'official' examination, so now it's time to put the work in!

3.  Our new carpets have been ordered.  After 11 years of living in this house, still with the same carpets from...   er....  the seventies???   We are finally replacing the carpet in my room and the teenagers' room.  Fortunately, we have been asked to remove all furniture and pull up the carpet before the workers arrive on the day;  it would have been a bit embarrasing if they got to see the old carpets - one is so worn that there is virtually nothing left!  It'll be lovely to have these replaced.

4.  I have ordered a right-handed archery bow.  We purchased a left-handed one last year for our 'lefties', and it is good, although a little tough to pull back.  I've now ordered a right-handed one for myself and the younger girls, with a lesser poundage.  Let the games begin!

5.  I have space on my bookshelves!  Yep, after removing a heap of books yesterday, we re-arranged the school room so that the science books have a shelf, the history books have their shelf, etc., and we are even left with a little extra space (which no doubt I'll work on soon enough).

6.  I received in the mail today the last of our curriculum purchases:  an 8-hour miniseries on Captain Cook, and one on Burke and Wills.  I didn't even know these existed until recently, so I'm looking forward to seeing what they are like.

7.  I found the confirmation sashes.  I've been looking for these for a while, and after a prayer last night to St. Anthony, it finally occurred to me where they may be.  It took me the whole of 1 minute this morning to locate them!  We will have up to four children this year for confirmation - dates yet to be confirmed.
8.  And finally, while we were waiting for help in selecting our carpet, we purchased a DVD from the bargain shelf - 'Bird on a Wire', with Mel Gibson.  I'd not seen it in years - but it is one funny movie, and I'm very much looking forward to putting my feet up after our successful day, and having a laugh.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Arthur Mee Encyclopedia Set

Anyone want a set of Arthur Mee's Encyclopedias?

We're having a cleanout - whole encyclopedia sets are going, as well as many books that although are wonderful, we simply do not use.  The shelves have overflowed for far too long, and it takes me ages to find anything, that it's time for some of it to go.

And, of course, when we need information, we often 'Google it'.  While I strongly believe in books over computers, the truth of the matter is that we just do not need so many on the shelves these days.

Today, we've taken off the shelves a full set of the 'Book of Knowledge' encyclopedia (very old), as well as the Arthur Mee set, Childcraft Books, and a few other bits and pieces.

But, before they head off to St. Vinnies, if anyone would like the Arthur Mee set, let me know.  Postage will be a killer - I'd expect it to be about $50+, but if you would like it, just let me know.

God bless,


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Word for 2012

Several of my friends suggested creating a 'word' for the year. Something that reflects your goals and plans for the year, and can help keep you on track when times are tough.

This year, I want to lead my children by being an example, rather than 'do what I say, not what I do'. I do have some definite goals I want to achieve, as well as books to read, and things I want to do. I am also determined to no longer wait around for other people who promise much, but deliver little, and wherever possible, take the initiative, and tackle the task myself.

Last year was a struggle; many things happened in my life that made reaching some of my goals almost impossible. Health-wise, it's still a battle, which includes my right foot, which screams in complaint after only a small amount of use.

However, I've decided that this year, my word will be 'Action'.  I refuse to be defeated any longer, and even a little bit of exercise, paperwork or housework can achieve a great deal, if done consistently, every day.

So, that's it - ACTION. Each day, taking steps towards my goals, no matter how small those steps may be. I'm sure there are times it'll seem like there is a whole mountian to climb, but I will keep in mind that even if this action is just little-by-little, and day-by-day, things will be just fine. I will do what I can, and no longer worry about what I cannot do.



Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

Today I have finished my plan for our homeschool year, including curriculum, extra-curricula activities, and reading lists (I will blog soon about all the resources we'll be using this year).  Normally, I type everything up on my computer, and print it all out - including a record page for every day of the year, then bind it all together in a book.

But this year, I have found something new!   I have discovered 'The Ultimate Homeschool Planner' by Debra Bell.  This planner contains most of what I would normally make up and print out myself - calendars, planning pages, goals, Resource lists for each student, weekly planners (which I will use as a record of what we actually do), reading lists, activity logs, and test records.  As well, there is a space for each week to record 'This Week's Memorable Moments', and 'Evidences of God's Grace'.  Each week also contains an educational quote, and the whole planner is sprial-bound with a plastic cover - perfect in case of those occasional 'spiills' that happen when you do school work at the kitchen table.

One downside, though, for those with large families;  there is only enough space allocated each week for six students.  Of course, as two of mine have now left home, this suits us perfectly!  But two years ago, this would have been a problem.

I have still typed up our timetables and complete resource list, which has been stapled and slotted into the pocket included on the inisde of the front cover.  Another one of these pockets is included on the back cover - so any 'extra bits' you need to add are kept safe & secure.

For the sixteen years that we have homeschooled, I have always made up my own record book - this is the first record book / planner that I have ever found that suited our needs.  As you can tell, I'm most impressed, and it's wonderful to have all the planning done so early in the year.

You can find 'The Ultimate Homeschool Planner' at Christian Book:

437600: The Ultimate Homeschool Planner The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

By Apologia Educational Ministries

Designed for the busy homeschooling mother, help bring order---and less frustration---into your life. A user's guide will help you set everything up; a one-year planning grid, student goal setter, pre-planning guide, monthly planners, weekly planner, records, teaching tips, and a high school planning guide are all provided. Yearly planning pages provide room for vision-casting with your family priorities, a review of the previous school year, a goal-setter for character and academics, and timing grids. Weekly plans provide room to write in your Bible plan, battle plan, prayers, hospitality/outreach efforts, memorable moments, achievements, and evidences of grace. Schedule pages may be filled in as you see fit-both the vertical and horizontal axes are blank for you to fill in days and subjects as you prefer. Boxes along the facing page include room for notes, supplies, and appointments. The plastic covers include folder pockets on the inside for handy storage. Spiral bound.

Happy Planning!



Well, it's done.  After months of tossing the issues around in my mind, today I took the plunge, and I've de-activated my Facebook account. 

You could say, 'what...  again?' and yes, it is true.  I have de-activated and re-activated my account several times now, however, this time, I took some serious action.  I firstly deleted all my photos, then all my personal information - work, likes, interests, about me, etc., and finally, one by one, I de-friended every single person on my friends list. So, if I ever to decide to log back in, I now officially have 'NO Friends'!  Fortunately, the number wasn't as high as what other people have - I had 85 friends, and over half of them were family members, many of whom I have no other contact.

So, why the drastic action?

I have several, very long articles that are half-written about Facebook - the site has been of great concern to me for a long time.  Here are some of the 'main' issues:

1.  Anyone can sign up, from 13 years of age - and once signed up, anyone else can invite you to be their 'friend'.  Parents have absolutely no parental controls over their young teens - the children can become 'friends' with whoever they choose, and of course, there are many 40+ year olds online who parade around with false accounts, pretending that they too, are young teens.  Facebook is the perfect place for sexual predators.

2.  Also - did you know that you can never delete your Facebook account?  Once you have one, you have it.  You can 'de-activate' it, and delete your posts, photos, etc., but your account stays there, and to re-activate it, all you need do is to log in with your email address and password, and it's all there, ready for you to use once again.  Last time I de-activated my account, I absentmindedly logged in one day, and then I had to go through the whole process of 'de-activating' it once again. 

3.  The emotional crutch.  Ever seen the 'I'm so useless' or 'I mess everything up' posts?  All the time, people are leaving this small, cryptic messages, which are then met by ten or so supportive message from their 'friends' - 'no, you're awesome!', etc.  The teen then begins to believe that their FB friends are their 'true' friends, while their family, who may be more inclined to be truthful with them, are not. 

4.  Following on from this, I personally know of four families that have been directly affected by having a teen on Facebook - with the result of the teen becoming withdrawn, depressed, and even violent.  In three cases I know of, the teen has either run away from home, or needed to be sent away from the family - and these are good, Christian homes, torn apart, at least in part, because of Facebook

5.  Privacy concerns.  Did you know that if you are logged into Facebook, and have several other tabs open, that Facebook can track where you go on the Internet?  That is scary.  And, what right do they have?  I don't especially want other people to know which sites I go to, or what I do online, and I don't believe the owners of Facebook should be able to do this.

6.  Letting the whole world into your home.  As a family living in the country, we feel we live pretty private lives - but no so with Facebook involved.  The more people that splatter across their pages - 'having fun at the pool', or 'watching tv with the family', etc. - the more the whole world learns about us, our family, our habits, etc.  I feel it's like opening a window to our house, that anyone can look through.  Blogging has some similarities, but it is far more controlled, with not every person putting up comments, and then everyone else receiving a 'feed' from where they read what you are doing.

7.  Addictiveness.  While I have not been so affected myself, I have seen first-hand the destructive influence of Facebook, as someone becomes so addicted to putting up 'just one more post' that their family, friends and work are shoved aside.  I'm still working out exactly 'why' Facebook is so darn addictive - but there is certainly a never-ending supply of conversations to have, people to meet, and updates to be made on your own 'wall'.  And once again, it goes back to those emotional needs - if people are responding to your comments, you feel important somehow.

8.  The goals of Facebook.  I'm still researching this - but the goals of the Facebook owners are to be 'the' site - the one site online where everyone is connected - everyone's personal info, friends, family, everything - all gathered together in once place.  This was the final straw.  Anything that claims to do that is always of a concern.  Not to mention the 'free Facebook connections' that are offered on modern mobile phones - no Internet access, but it's free to access and put updates on Facebook.  And in my mind, nothing is truly 'free'.

There's more, much, much more, and I really must start typing it all up into a logical, readable article.  For now, though, these are the main reasons.  I really have a feeling deep down that there is far more to Facebook than meets the eye, and I for one, am done with it. 


Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 - This Year

This Year:

I will not worry so about horrible diets and exhausting exercise routines, but rather:

I will learn learn nurture and to respect myself.

This Year:

I will no longer ask God for things I want, but rather:

I will ask God what I can do for Him.

This Year:

I will not be harsh on myself for all I can not do, but rather:

rejoice in the things I am able to do.

This Year:

I will not stress over what curriculum to use, or what resources to choose, but rather:

I will trust that God has given me enough knowledge and experience to pull us through;  we have all we need. 

This Year:

I will no longer spend my time grieving for those who shun me and turn their back to me, but rather:

I will be content with those whom I can spend time with;  both online and in person.

This Year:

I will no longer be drawn into all the arguments against my faith - the constant negative drain that screams of hatred, misinformation and prejudice, but rather:

I shall continue in my studies of our Lord, and in doing so, strengthen my faith and trust in Him.

This Year:

I will work to let go of all the things I cannot change, and rather:

put my trust in Him to lead the way.

May God bless your year.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kittens....... yep, More of them!

Today was certainly an interesting day.  Our black cat, Kiki, began meowing and wanting attention.  Her poor tummy looked like it was about to explode, so we began wondering if the time had come....

Kiki - and her large tummy

Kiki's mother was a stray.  We had kept two kittens out of the litter, but before we could 'remove' the rest of the kittens, the mother took them away, and we were unable to find them.  Kiki turned up a couple of months later, and the children adopted her as well - she was always a bit 'skittish', and was frightened of us to begin with, often darting away under a chair or the couch before any of us could pat her or pick her up.

But the past few weeks, she's been a much more placid cat.  Her growing tummy may have had something to do with it!  And today, she would not let me leave her side.  I'd read on the Internet that when a cat goes into labour, it's best to give her plenty of space, and to stand well back, but Kiki mewed and meowed every time I moved away, and so, I sat with her, patting her, encouraging her, and comforting her as best I could.  It was obvious she was in a lot of pain, and she seemed very confused as to what was going on.  I must say I was worried about her - she's only around 7-8 months old herself, and still quite small.

After an hour or so, we could see the sack emerging, and then, with one last almighty push - we had one!  A gorgeous little black kitten.  It was quite amazing to actually see the birth of a kitten - in the past, they usually turn up at night, or are born in a back shed - so to actually see the birth, and even be there to offer some support to our cat was a bit special.

The first baby

Of course, it was not yet over, and while the second one was being born, she again gave a huge cry of pain.  At this, our male cat, Louis, sprang off the couch and raced to her side to see what was the matter.  The poor thing, of course, also had no idea what was going on, so after a minute or two, he wandered off, looking very out of sorts and confused.

Louis' Concern

And so the ordeal continued, but only for another hour or so, and then, it was all over!  Four gorgeous kittens, ranging from all black to one that is almost white, with two ginger ones in between. It is absolutely amazing that Kiki, as only a young cat herself, knew exactly what to do, and exactly how to care for her new babies.  Sadly, as we already have four cats, I don't think we'll be able to keep any of them, which of course is always the difficult bit, but we'll enjoy their 'cuteness' while we can!

Kiki and her babies