Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It is getting very close now...

My beautiful little girl is growing up so fast!  Hard to believe she is so nearly 5!

In just a few weeks she'll join her big sister at big school.  And while she is feeling rather nervous, she is also really excited saying "I'll be a big school kid".

And so yesterday when I had to buy Bianca's stationery, we bought Caitlyn's too.

Look at all my stationery...

I can help cover my books

And put my name on my things
Let the countdown begin...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lyrical Sunday (or Lyrical Monday as it is the case today)

Am in two minds about this particular poetry attempt, but I thought it would be fun to join in with LatteJunkie's Lyrical Sunday.  The theme this week is 'Words'. 

That remain unsaid
In the back of my mind
Where they live
Like a butterfly
Wishing for escape
Wanting to join
The words that I say
That dance in the sunlight
Every single day
Read between the lines
Because the words that I say
Make up for the words I can't
And those are the words
That are me

Why don't you have a go at something?  And then leave a comment here (click here).  It doesn't have to be poetry, could be something else fitting in with the theme (actually I could have just posted a picture of Paul's book (click here) I made as that has a whole lot of words)  ;-)

Speaking of words...make sure you visit my friend George's new blog (click here).  He will be publishing his first blog entry really soon and he has some amazing ideas what he will be blogging about!  I cannot wait to read it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just like that...

Leave me 5 minutes with somebody and I will have them set up and all ready to get into blogging!  You can ask Paul about that.

Up to end of August / beginning September (must be because Paul's first blog entry was the 9th of September 2011) Paul's life was pretty straight-forward.  He was a teacher by day who went out running after school, then home where he'd have a quiet evening reading his paper or perhaps watching something on TV - well I don't actually know if that was really how it was at the time.  I'm only guessing.

And then I came along with my magic words "Have you ever thought of starting a blog?" and I remember Paul showing a bit of an interest asking what it was about and I then went on to say "Oh it's great, it is quick and easy to set up, I can show you how" and within an hour I had Paul all set up with his blog and he did his very first entry.  No time to even catch his breath.  And that was the end of his quiet, straight forward days... And even if Paul at the time probably swore at me late in the evenings as he was being swept up in this world of blogging that took up all his time, I'm glad he started blogging because he has some great stories that he shares and I enjoy the runs he takes us on (click here).  I especially enjoyed the last run because it was so scenic and I surprised myself because I wasn't even out of breath...

So recently I told you how I found my Dale Carnegie instructor, George again (click here).  We've been emailing each other a bit and chatting on Skype (well not voice / video chatting because my laptop doesn't allow for that) (I think Skype chatting is great because it is so much more instant than email). I feel proud that after 11 years George still feels the book I made way back then with feedback, quotes and messages from everybody in our class is still one of his prized possessions and he's been showing it to others.  I made it at the time to say thank you to George because he was such an amazing trainer who changed our lives for the better.

Now I want to share a snippet of our Skype conversation this morning (Sorry Paul, you came up in the conversation as well).

We started off asking how the weekend was going and talking about our kids (his kids are young adults now) and then this:

[9:47:46 AM NZDT] Lea: Did I ever share with you the latest YouTube video link I made?
[9:47:55 AM NZDT] George: no
[9:47:55 AM NZDT] Lea: I wrote the words for the song and Bianca's teacher did the music.
[9:48:05 AM NZDT] George: send me the link please
[9:48:27 AM NZDT] Lea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TWWoUDhdt4
[9:48:43 AM NZDT] Lea: Paul has written nearly 300 songs to date.
[9:48:49 AM NZDT] Lea: I just recently put it all in a book for him.
[9:52:28 AM NZDT] George: this is a stunning video Lea - I love it
[9:52:38 AM NZDT] Lea: Thanks George :-)
[9:52:57 AM NZDT] Lea: Paul surprised me at our Funrazor event with the song.
[9:53:06 AM NZDT] Lea: I had written the poem on my blog and he turned it into a song.
[9:53:10 AM NZDT] Lea: Was a nice surprise.
[9:53:49 AM NZDT] George: yes indeed - what a fabulous gift!
[9:55:47 AM NZDT] George: who is paul?
[9:57:04 AM NZDT] Lea: Paul Forster was Bianca's teacher from last year.  An amazing teacher - one of the best.  Since then we've become really good friends. His passions include running, cycling (he is an amazing athlete), singing and songwriting and has also written and published a children's picture book.
[9:57:31 AM NZDT] Lea: http://glossaryking.blogspot.com/
[9:59:02 AM NZDT] George: thanks Lea
[9:59:46 AM NZDT] Lea: He wasn't into blogging, but last year I introduced him to it and helped him set up.  It was initially going to be a place for him to mostly talk about his book and his music, but since then his blog has changed quite a bit.

And then I asked my magic question...

[9:59:57 AM NZDT] Lea: Have you ever thought of blogging?
[10:00:27 AM NZDT] George: funny you should ask that - because I want to get into it this year
[10:01:01 AM NZDT] Lea: Blogging is great.
[10:01:09 AM NZDT] Lea: And very addictive I have to warn you though :-)
[10:01:17 AM NZDT] George: i have no idea how to go about it at the moment
[10:01:23 AM NZDT] Lea: I can help you get it set up.
[10:01:29 AM NZDT] Lea: It is easy and very quick.

And just like that within an hour I had George all set up with his very own blog.  At the moment George has asked that I remain a contributor on his blog which is why you'll see my name there.  And I started George off with his first blog entry.  George's blog is going to be amazing.  And what he will be writing about will be inspiring and life changing.  I'm very excited about this because I have spent time with George before and know that you too will be able to get lots of benefit from the blog entries George will be writing.

Please can you visit George's blog.  Leave him a comment to say hi and follow him - I promise you won't be disappointed when he starts writing his blog entries!

You can visit George here (click here).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Training and meeting new friends

My day started off with my Saturday training session.  It was going to be an ocean swim and then a bike ride.  And so I got all ready, Terence adjusted my bike seat a bit, loaded my bike in the car, I got in the car, started the car, realised I haven't yet put my contact lenses in (and that glasses with goggles would be useless), switched off the car, out of the car, quickly put them in, back in the car and off I went.  As I was about to take my bike out of the car I realised that I left my helmet at home.  Sigh!  Really???  Turned out that when Terence took my bike to adjust the seat and put it in the car he forgot to put my helmet in the car.  So I had to go all the way back home and unfortunately missed the swimming. 

When I got back I was on time to make the biking bit.  Some of the group did a 6km bike ride, but most of us opted to do the full 12km.  There were 2 fairly good cyclists who quickly took the lead and initially because the trainer wanted us all in single file I ended up in the back.  Found the first bit a bit boring because it was slower than I would have liked, but then when the group started speeding up, I managed to go ahead and slipped into 4th.  And not long after into 3rd.  For most of the way I managed to maintain 3rd / 2nd place.  The ride was also a bit faster than it was last week.

Then at the end of the session the one lady and I decided to go off and to do our 4km run.  Or rather for me it was a run / walk session.  I was very pleased in the end to see that I did it a little bit faster than last week even though I really had to push it and had to work really hard. 

The swimming is still the daunting bit for me.  And on Wednesday there will be another chance to do an ocean swim practise.  Hopefully I don't drown in the process...

Got home for a quick lunch and a quick tidy up and then some friends came to visit. The two guys work with Terence and so they (and their families) came to visit us today.  Both are fairly new to New Zealand.  The one couple have been here just over a year and the other couple have only just recently arrived.  The one lady (who has been here just over a year) it turned out was also on the very same forum I used to belong to.  The world is really an incredibly small place.  They have a 3 month old and a 2.5 year old little boy and the other couple a little boy also almost 2 (I think) and it was a bit full on for them because our house is not toddler / baby proofed. 

Because they haven't been here yet, Terence arranged to meet them at Lindale Farm and then they came to our house for a BBQ dinner.  It was lovely to meet them and I'm looking forward to catching up with them again sometime soon.

Here are some photos:

Feeding chickens at Lindale Farm

A picture for you Mum!

You can't go to Lindale Farm and not have Kapiti Ice Cream!

2 Little boys looking for ways to escape!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Just because...

A little secret
Just for you and me
We'll hang on to it
And then you'll see
Haunting in your dreams
I'll be right there
Caring...or so it seems
At least that's what we'll say
This is the way
It's going to be
Pretend not to see
What lies beneath the eyes
Ignoring the questions
The what if and why?
Just because...
I said so...
The end!

Nervous, but really excited

In 2001 I did a Dale Carnegie course.  It was one of the most amazing courses I have ever done.  And our trainer George was amazing.  A total inspiration.  A guy who lived and breathed everything he taught.  It wasn't just a job - it was a passion.  I didn't know about Dale Carnegie until I entered a Secretary of the Year competition.  And I felt really comfortable with everything they expected us to do, except when I heard that there would be a stage where we would have limited time to prepare a talk on whatever topic they chose.  And I was totally freaked out because I believed my prepared speeches were good, but the impromptu ones not so good and I needed help.  And so I signed up for the 12 week course.

This course was way more than I ever thought it would be.  It wasn't just about the public speaking element, but also dealt with positive ways in dealing with people, memory techniques and more.  The public speaking part (as with everything else about the course) was absolutely amazing.  And the techniques I learnt brilliant and incredibly helpful. And I learnt that what I thought I knew about making speeches was all wrong before I started the course.

I didn't know then that I would actually eventually 11 years later find myself in a public speaking position. 

The day before yesterday I was asked to be a speaker at a fundraising dinner event.  As in speaking for 30 minutes in front of a couple of hundred people.  It will be in March.  I have to admit I'm a bit nervous (okay quite a bit nervous and right now my stomach is home to a bunch of butterflies).  But I'm also really excited.  I'll actually get to do what George taught me way back in 2001.  I'll have an opportunity to help make a difference to a good cause.  And that is always exciting!

I managed to track George down again.  George wrote the loveliest email with such kind words and I'm looking forward having a chat with him to brush up on some of the tips and techniques. 

So now to get my head around this talk and start practising!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I wasn't going to do another post today...

But I'm simply heartbroken and so sad. :'-(

I asked the nurse yesterday the hard question: can she give us any idea of how long we are looking at. When we talked with the doctors a year ago, when Hope relapsed, they said she'd probably have a few good weeks and then a few bad weeks before she died. Our feeling now is that we have started the few bad weeks, and our nurse agrees. (Source)
Child cancer sucks!  Big time!  

Bec, Ali and family - my heart breaks for what you are going through.  I cannot even begin to imagine.  And I'm keeping you in my prayers and thoughts. 

Another torture session

This morning I had my weekly date with the Torture Master (who is more professionally known as the physio).  A good thing because last night's run / walk session was rather hard work. 

Almost instantly I had this burning sensation on the side of my right leg - the very same spot I've been struggling with for a while now.  I kept at it because that's what the physio wants me to do and I kind of signed up for this event, so kind of don't have a choice..., but it was hard work and my session wasn't particularly good.  At times (or most of the time really) it feels as if I'm making no progress at all which is a rather frustrating feeling.  But then if I look at last Saturday's session where I first did a 6km bike ride and then a 4km run / walk straight after then I am actually making progress and I have come much further than ever before in my life.

I've never been very good at sport and this is the first time in my life where I'm actually willingly going out for these run / walk sessions.  At school I played some netball, but wasn't particularly good and didn't enjoy the positions that ran a lot.  In my one high school all the kids were very much encouraged to participate at the start of the athletic season where the two house teams would take each other on.  There were two teams - the Kudus (my team) whose colours were red and white and the Gemsbok team whose colours were blue and white.  Every day these two teams' flags flew alongside the South African flag and the school flag.  So when these two teams got together kids could earn points for their participation.  So usually my choice was to do long jump (and no I wasn't very good) and discus (which I only chose because I had a bit of a crush on the teacher) and once in a fit of madness I did a 400m run (I mean really how hard can that be?) and I started off really well and really strong and within 2 seconds was left behind and came dead last.  In front of the whole school.  Of about 900 kids.  But hey, I tried and I earned some points for my house team and after all it was about participation.  For me anyway.

The only other time I've ever done an event as such was when we were in Auckland and they had some or the other 5km event where people could run or walk and the school would get a percentage of every entry that came from their particular school.  So I entered Bianca and myself to walk the 5km.  What I failed to keep in mind was that Bianca was on her monthly 5 days of steroids at the time.  And steroids (Dexamethasone) is probably the most hated drug in the childhood leukemia world.  With side effects which will cause your child to become all puffy, have an appetite that would put a grown man to shame, or no appetite at all (just to make things interesting), can cause tummy pain, mood swings, sadness, depression, cause cravings (like the time Bianca craved wild boar like they have on Asterix and wanted to send her dad to the shops at 9pm at night to go buy her some wild boar) and some kids get terrible temper tantrums (or 'roid rage as it is known in our world).  So why I even thought we could walk the 5km event I have no idea, but I thought it would be fun.  And it was.  For the first few hundred meters and then Bianca started getting all whiny and sad and complaining her legs were tired.  I ended up carrying her for 3km of the 5km.  And it took us well over an hour to finally complete it. 

So yes, willingly going out and attempting to run / walk is quite a big step for me and significantly more than I've ever done to date.

So this morning as I sat there in the physio's waiting room with the kids, Bianca read the Guinness Book of World Records as she usually does, I couldn't help thinking how stupid some of these records are.  Like the person who held the most rattle snakes in his mouth (I would have thought that 1 rattle snake was too many...) and the person who pulled a car or something with their eye lids (why???).

The session today was pretty painful.  Still the same problem, but the pain has now moved more to the back of my leg and it was another session I spent saying "ouch!" pretty much the entire time.  Sigh!  I can't wait until this is all fixed...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back to reality

And so things are starting to get back to reality a bit.  I'm in the process to book Bianca's activities.  Swimming is still booked from last year which the kids have on Tuesdays, Bianca wants to continue with gym which will probably be on Mondays and cheerleading which might now be on Thursdays and so I'm in the process to book those, because the new term starts next week already. 

Not sure what Caitlyn will want to end up doing, but she still has daycare for a few more weeks and they do a gym session as a class together and then for the rest of the first term I will just let her settle at school first before we start committing to anything for her.

Last week I completed forms to say that Caitlyn's last day at her daycare centre will be on the 21st of February.  They do a whole farewell session and we are going to take a cake.  I hope I'll be able to go and watch and take some photos.  On the 22nd Caitlyn turns 5 and it will be her very first day at big school in Year 1.  It is rather sad to think her daycare days are coming to an end, but exciting that she is starting big school.  And then of course I need to organise the actual birthday party which we'll probably do on the 26th.  We'll probably do the same as last year as that worked well.

So today I spent time organising labels so I can mark pencils and pens and markers and glue sticks and whatever else needs marking and some book covers.  Thankfully not too many I'd have to cover.  I have vivid memories from my school days having to cover loads of books and spending the whole night pretty much doing this, so am rather glad I won't have to cover too many.

Later this week we will buy stationery and school bags and then we should be all set.  Then it is just organising Caitlyn's school visit days before she actually starts. 

It feels unreal that Caitlyn is actually going to start big school in just a bit less than a month.  In one way Caitlyn is really excited, but in another I think rather anxious.  Wonder if we'll have many tears!

On the weekend Terence went out to a games evening somewhere in Lower Hutt and so Caitlyn and I decided to have a picnic supper (or tea as they say here) since we had a fairly heavy lunch. 

Teddy joined us for our picnic.  

Here Teddy, I'll help you hold your spoon
 I don't yet have photos of the actual camp, but on Sunday late afternoon Bianca came back.  So lovely to have her back.  The house was really quiet without her and we all missed her lots. 

Bianca got a certificate for attending camp

They had an activity book / diary (and no Bianca didn't do any writing...)

Bianca's wand she received at camp

The welcome letter and map of where they went

Bianca chose an owl as her pet and made "dragon eggs"
 Once I get photos I will share them :-).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Okay so that was a bit of a trip down memory lane...

I just discovered a blog I created in 2010.  That I completely forgot about.

After Bianca's treatment ended I was sort of blogged out for a bit.  The blog we used (click here) was mostly used to share her cancer journey and so when treatment ended it didn't seem to fit writing about things other than cancer.  And I just couldn't get into it.  And so I stopped for a little while. 

Eventually I missed blogging and decided to create a new space.  A space that would be about life in general.

This is what I wrote at the time:
Our new chapter.  The one after a very long night, even though I must say it wasn’t all bad.  It was manageable.  It was hard, the hardest perhaps we have ever had to do.  It was also long.  The longest road yet.  At times it really felt as if we got to what we thought might be the top of the mountain, just to be told, “there is the next, you are not quite done”.  But despite all this, it was manageable. We got through.  We stood tall.
I wanted a new place to write.  I wanted to shift the focus a bit.  But no doubt at times,  where we came from will slip in, and that is fine.  We cannot deny where we come from, our past.  It is what shaped us and our journey and the road ahead.  And it will always be part of us.  And you can read all about it here if you wish.
So this blog won’t be as much about child cancer (a little I suppose).  I still feel passionate about the cause  But I hope that this blog will mostly be about life after cancer, about finding our normal.  About living life.
 I remember at the time it was what I craved the most.  To find "normal" again.  To try and fit in again.  But we didn't fit in, we didn't belong.  It was a rather strange time.  And the "unknown" scared the heck out of me.  And nobody really understood.

It seems such a long time ago that I wrote those words.

When I created that blog I decided to try Wordpress for a bit.  A lot of people raved about it and said how wonderful it was and so I decided to try it out.  But in the end I went back to Blogger and created this blog.  Can't remember what I didn't like about Wordpress, but I guess I'm a Blogger girl rather than a Wordpress girl.

Either way it was a rather nice little trip down memory lane reading through my Wordpress blog even if it only lasted a short little while.  If you are interested, feel free to visit it (click here).

This particular post made me smile (click here).
This one made me feel rather sad (click here), and this one (click here).
And this one the start of my mum's biggest adventure ever (click here) (and here)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just a dream

Just a dream
That flutters in my mind
A wish that maybe you'll find
A way to float in on the breeze
And watch the stars
In the quiet of the night
With me
As the dark swallows
The desires of my heart
And the quiet echoes
Bounce off the walls
Shatter around my feet
And I wonder
And I dream
And I wish
Just for a moment
One moment
A glimpse of you
In the light of the moon

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Training session

Today was another training session with my friend Rose.  Except this time I went on ahead.  I knew it was going to be tougher than last week because today's session started with a 6km bike ride and then a 4km run straight after.  I've not done a bike ride and then a run straight after so didn't really know what to expect.  Except that perhaps I would feel half dead by the end of it.

The bike ride was a fairly pleasant ride from the Raumati Beach area down Marine Parade or something until we got to some or the other roundabout.  The weather was nice and it wasn't too breezy.  I managed to do the ride in 17 minutes 53 seconds and was the 4th person to arrive back at our meeting point. 

Then it was onto the run.  Or rather a run / walk for me.  I cannot run 4km without walking bits in between.  Have to say my legs felt rather wobbly coming off the bike and then having to start my run / walk.  Last week Rose and I did the run in 33 minutes and I was hoping I could do it faster, but mindful of the fact that I have just done a bike ride and haven't done 2 consecutive things just yet.  And so I felt more out of breath, but maintained a fairly good pace throughout and finished it in 26 minutes 30 seconds.

Am feeling rather pleased with myself. 

Today I have also finally taken the plunge and entered the Kapiti Women's Triathlon.  Rose did this last year and loved it and we've been talking about it for a while now and finally I have now entered (leaving me feeling rather scared to be honest).  My goal for the event will be to participate and finish it (no way will I ever win it) and as long as I'm not dead last then I will be happy. 

How is your Saturday going?  Are you doing anything special?

Friday, January 20, 2012

A project revealed including photos

I've learnt something - Paul Forster is a man of many words.  67,901 to be exact.

Let me explain -

Late last year I started working with Paul.  First to innocently suggest that perhaps he might like to start a blog.  Paul has this really cool children's picture book called "You're Not Eating Me" which he published and is selling.  Along with this book is a CD with songs including the title song "You're Not Eating Me".  This book / CD has been one of my kids' favourite things and Caitlyn often asks me to play the song for her (click here for a snippet). So if you are looking for a cool, affordable present for a child, this is a great option!

Anyway I thought the blog would be a great place for Paul to talk about his book and his music and besides a blog is a great place to talk about whatever.

And so I helped him get set up in the blogosphere (after all an addiction is useless if you can't share it with others...).  Not long after we started doing some YouTube video clips and it was at this point that I became aware that Paul has actually written a lot more songs than I thought and that while I really liked the songs I have heard up to that point, the ones he started sharing with me were amazing - many of which I now regard as my favourite songs.  Some of his songs were inspired by his lovely wife Jo (click here), his beautiful girls Kate and Alice (click here), his dad (who is just as competitive as Paul) (click here), his mum (click here) and his passion for music (click here). 

When the end of the year started creeping up on us I started thinking what I could give to Paul as a thank you present.  For one he was an amazing teacher for Bianca.  One of the very best.  (You can read about it here).  But he also became a good friend.  A friend willing to share his world of music, willing to go along with the crazy ideas I came up with (like Funrazor and the hospital visit) and who is very encouraging as I'm trying to get fit (a long road ahead of me still).  And so I wanted to give him something that would hopefully be meaningful and useful.

And it was at this point that I thought perhaps a notebook would be a suitable something.  You know - so he could continue writing music and have a special place to write any new songs.  Of course I could have just gone to the shop and bought something and there really are some stunning notebooks out there and that would have been good enough, but that's not really how I work.

I decided that instead I actually wanted to make the notebook.  Now I've only ever once made a book.  It was for our Dale Carnegie instructor and I collected quotes and contributions of what the sessions meant to us all from the group of people who did the 12 week course with me.  It was pretty much an A4 one and I called it "The Road Well Travelled". 

But this particular notebook I didn't want to wire bind.  I wanted it to look more like a real book.  A hard cover book.  Except I've never made a hard cover book and had no idea where to start.

I borrowed some books from the library and most of it seemed either too weird or too feminine looking (not sure if Paul would appreciate a book with lots of ribbon and lace...) and there was one book that discussed the more traditional methods of bookbinding.  It wasn't a very easy read and most of the information flew over my head. 

And so I consulted trusty friend YouTube and some or the other bookbinding forum (yes there is a forum decicated to the art of book making).  And through this I stumbled upon some really great Youtube clips.

My first attempt looked great and I was so proud of myself.  Except I got the measurements all wrong and the cover wasn't quite big enough and I didn't leave a big enough space between the spine and the cover so it wouldn't open properly.  And of course impatient me opened the book too soon after I glued the cover to the pages and...well it wasn't so great.  It was a bit of a flop.  Oh well.  Next attempt.  The next attempt was slightly better.  Except I still struggled with getting my measurements right (give me creative any day, anything that could remotely be linked to maths - not so much...).  And this time the spine part of my pages after I sewed them together was much thicker than the other end of the book.  I think it was on my 4th try when I finally came across a really helpful YouTube video and figured it all out and this one I really liked.  Still not perfect, but I'm really happy with it. 

I then decided I needed something to decorate the inside covers with and then thought that it would be perfect to have some handwritten songs and make a bit of a collage with that.  Which is at this point that I started involving Paul.  He had no idea why I asked for him to do this and I could see he was a bit confused as to why exactly I would need it.

This particular notebook I called "Straight From The Heart" because when Paul writes music and talks about his music you can see that it is straight from his heart.  It is an absolute passion for him.

So that was that.  I was all sorted with something I hoped would be suitable and meaningful.

Except... that's not me.  My ideas have a habit of growing.  I start with a simple concept, a quick and easy project and then as I start thinking about it, planning it, visualising it, it starts growing.  I simply can't help myself.

So as I sat there making this notebook and watching YouTube video clips I thought, what if I took Paul's songs and put it in a hard cover book.  He told me he had about 150 songs that he's done at that stage.  So I started nagging him for copies of his songs.  He gave me a batch and I started typing them up.  I think there were about 80 songs maybe.  I then went back to Paul and asked if I could get the rest of his 150 songs.  And so Paul kindly let me use his folders.  He had 3 folders with loads of songs in them and many of these the original handwritten notes.  It took me quite a while to work my way through these.  At that point Paul started sending me some recordings of some of the songs he had at home.  And I realised that I didn't have all the lyrics for all of them.  And so I went back to Paul and asked for these lyrics.  I think he realised at this point I wasn't going to go away and the quicker he helped me the better :-).  And of course then I needed some song stories, because a number of his songs have a very specific reason how they came about.  Like Paul's very first song every 'We Belong Together'.

As Paul was about to go on holiday in December he told me that there were a few more on his tapes that he didn't think I had words for and if I'm happy to wait until his return he can help me then.  I don't think he realised that there would be 40 more songs that I did not have lyrics for.

And so in the end we realised Paul didn't do 150 songs.  No, he did about 293 songs!  That's quite a bit more than he initially told me :-).

Finally a week ago I had all the information I needed and wanted.  I had all the lyrics, about 40 song stories, all the dates of when stories were written, all Paul's musical productions.  Paul kindly spent 10 hours proofreading through the lyrics (without quite knowing what I was up to).  And I was all set and figured it was going to take me a day or so to put it in the right format, print it and then put it all together so should be ready in time for his birthday.  Except it wasn't.  It took me about a week to copy across all the lyrics, put them on the right pages so when I print it it would be in the correct order, add the stories, do the contents, add some photos, add the page numbers.  And of course the computer application I was using kept stuffing up and I had to keep fixing things (much to my frustration). 

And so finally last night I finished it up.  It is all done.  It is not perfect, but I'm happy with it and hopefully it won't fall apart.  I called this particular book "The Journey".  It is one of Paul's song titles, it was also his journey from his very first song in 1999 to the very last one of 2011 and it felt like I was going on a journey with him as I typed it all up.

This afternoon I finally handed it over to Paul.  Even though it was a lot of hard work, I really enjoyed doing it.  And this way Paul can proudly keep 12 years' worth of work on his bookshelf and share it with others, read through it at times and feel proud of the amazing work he's done.  I am very excited to see the songs Paul will be writing now in 2012.  

All packed and ready.  I was told that Paul likes blue and black.

 And so now I am happy to finally show you these photos:

Sewing together the folded sheets of paper.

Making progress slowly but surely.

Time to glue it together.  The green card is just so that the pages don't damage.

 All glued and ready to add the cover.

Time to make the cover.  

Old Open Polytechnic books can still be useful.  Holding down the cover after I glued it to the pages. 

Straight from the Heart (empty notebook)


I decorated the inside covers (back and front) with copies of Paul's handwritten songs.

Empty pages all ready for the very first song.  I added a bookmark to the book.

The Journey (a collection of songs and musical productions from 1999 to 2011)

About 350 pages
293 Songs
About 40 song stories
4 Musical productions
67,901 words

I decorated the inside front and back covers with a number of photos.  Photos that represent some of the inspirations - running, family, travel, Elliott Smith, Joy Division and Bob Dylan.


A photo of Paul performing at the Kapiti Funrazor event and the start of the contents.


The beginning - a photo of Paul and his sister as kids and a paragraph on their musical upbringing.  The Beginning section has 2 songs - 'We Belong Together', the first song Paul ever wrote and 'Run With The Wind' the second song Paul ever wrote.



The start of the rest of the songs.  As well as thoughts on Bob Dylan and how his music influenced Paul's own songwriting.


The Musical Productions are at the end of the book.  2 of these productions have been professionally recorded and the other 2 have not yet been recorded.

This was an amazing project to do.  A long one, but well worth it.  Thank you, Paul for putting up with my constant nagging and constant requests and for helping me even though you didn't quite know what it was for.  I'm looking forward to seeing what new songs you come up with!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Thursday update

This week was mostly spent working on my project.  Which after tomorrow I'll be able to share about it. I'm at the last bits now and I'm just really really hopeful nothing goes wrong at this point in time.  

I've discovered a new favourite song thanks to Paul.  

Of course in my world finding a favourite song means that I listen to it over and over and over (much to Terence's frustration when he is around) and singing along (a good thing nobody is around to hear me because my singing is best kept for the shower or the car when I'm driving somewhere on my own).  There are 2 other ones I also really like - Between the bars and Angeles.  But I think 'Waltz No 2' is probably my favourite of the three at the moment.

Right now Bianca is at camp and must say the house is really quiet.  We are all missing her lots, but I'm sure she's having loads of fun.  And going by this article (click here) it would seem they had an exciting start to it all.

Caitlyn was rather emotional yesterday morning and we figured it was probably just that she is missing her sister.  She was extremely excited when her friend Lily came to sleep over last night.  It was also a first for us, having one of Caitlyn's friends stay the night.

Here are some photos from Tuesday:

All set for camp :-)

Often the first thing people tell us when they see us is "look at how long Bianca's hair is!"  She's come a long way since her chemo days.

Can hardly wait to catch the bus to camp!

A lovely day to go on camp.

Did we pack everything we needed to?

Bianca's lovely companion, Emily!

Hey Bianca, your mum is taking another photo!

Urgh, I wish she would go now...

What did you get up to today?