Avoiding Assignments

Yes, that’s what I am doing now. I have an assignment due tomorrow so of course, I am on Facebook, writing this, basically doing anything but do the assignment. It is for a non-fiction book proposal, I have to do a table of contents, blurb, letter to a publisher and 2,000 words of a chapter. Yes, that’s doable, I say, I had a good idea and printed off loads of information. But when it comes to actually doing it I am finding it hard to concentrate.

After this assignment, I have another three over the next three weeks and then I am free until the last week in July.

I’ve probably always been one to put things off until the last minute but that doesn’t work at postgraduate level, though so far so good on my marks.

Wish me luck as I head back to the grindstone.



Weather, public holidays and other stuff

Yesterday it rained all day. It reminded me of Ireland except it was still warm. Today the sun is back out and all is well again. I prefer the weather in Australia, surprise, surprise. It is coming into winter here so it is a bit cooler – maybe more like a good summer day in Ireland. The only time I need a cardigan is on a Wednesday night for my class. The air-conditioning makes the room freezing.

One thing that amazes me is the public holidays in Australia – nothing is open. Well, I tell a lie some pubs are still open but they may limit their food hours. All the shops close so no going out window-shopping. Well, there are some shops open but they are few. I’m not sure about the city. It probably explains why the Australians love the outdoors, there is nothing else for them to do! On public holidays Australians go out and have barbecues in the parks and on the beaches or go away for a long weekend.

Jobs – job hunting is not going well, it appears to be very much a case of who you know, which sounds familiar. I haven’t lost hope and continue to send out applications.

Dogs – well I love having Gizmo here and she has settled in well. She sleeps a lot just like she did in Ireland. She is not very impressed with the dog next door but they walk well together each day and as long as I treat them both equally it is okay. Gizmo likes to sleep in Tilly’s bed, eat her food, and pee in the same spot as her!

I had my son and family stay with me last weekend as they were waiting to close on their new house. This included their dog Lily, who is a beagle and a little bit bigger than Gizmo. Once again Gizmo was not impressed that another dog was here and vying for attention.

Assignments – slowly getting through them and so far so good on the grades. Have five assignments left and in the final few weeks of the first semester.



Assignments – literature reviews and editing tests

I have realised that I know nothing about the English language, at least when it comes to grammar. I’d never even heard of a comma splice, nominalisation, squinting modifier and loads of other terms. I have an editing test next week and am dreading it.

Last week it was a literature review which caused me heartache. It was due Mon night at 11.59 pm and I put it in at 11.10! Had to scrap everything I had done on the Monday morning as it was all crap and didn’t make sense. It’s in now and I just hope I did enough to pass. Research techniques is my worst subject I think.

Have a couple of assignments in and marked and so far so good.

On the other hand, my fiction course is amazing and I am working on a short story about a murderer with a conscience. There will be a trial and a jury so I am trying to get real examples from people who have served on juries. I am even hoping to attend a murder trial here in Brisbane.


My dog has arrived

Haven’t posted for a while so I thought I would do an update. Gizmo arrived on Sunday and I am so happy to have her with me. She was fine following her travels and quarantine (ten days in Melbourne) so she is well travelled. My next door neighbours dog was not very happy. We closed the gate between the gardens and she couldn’t understand why. Then we met in the local park to introduce the dogs (dog whisperer tip neutral ground) and walked them together. They are okay in the house together but Gizmo is a bit of a bully and has snapped at Tilly. She also tries to take Tilly’s toys. Poor Tilly doesn’t even growl at Gizmo.

My hubby was wonderful in sorting out all the different injections etc with the vet. On the day she was travelling there was a bit of a delay and not all the paperwork was in order but it was sorted. Stressful and I really hope I find a way to stay so we don’t have to bring her back even though going back is easier as there is no quarantine.

The Weather in Ireland

I’m entralled by all the posts and blogs coming out of Ireland about the Beast from the East and Storm Emma. Looking at it from sunny Australia it seems like a different world but I do remember 2010 and having to trudge through the snow – still have the timberland boots I had to rush out and buy! I turned the heating down to low and had it on 24/7.

I also remember the snow of 1982 and being trapped when I was staying with a friend half a mile out the road. Cars had been abondoned and the snow nearly covered them so you were walking on cars. The aftermath of sludge etc wasn’t as pleasant.

I hope everyone gets through it okay and if they do I think it is down to the media warnings telling everyone to stay home – less people ont he roads means less issues.

Thought I would share

Assignments, grammar and other scary things

This week I had a bit of a wobble. I was doing some reading before a lecture and wondeered had I taken on too much. It was grammar. I was questioning if I even knew the English language and how to write it at all as I read about the comma splice, nominalisations, dangling bits and bobs etc. You get the picture. It seems that in Australia they went through a few decades where grammar wasn’t taught in schools. This made me try to remember my own early days at school and if I can recall learning grammar – well I don’t. It was back in the seventies and apparently the UK stopped teaching grammar around that time as well so as I started school in London I obviously lost out. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Fortunately I have some very good friends in the class who are happy to help out and know more than me. I actually thought everyone knew it all but that’s not the case. Such a relief. By the way I’ve discovered I,m not the oldest in the class so that’s good.

The next day we had a research lecture and I was looking at the first assingment which is a literature review and the topic is strong female characters in science fiction still don’t play the same scope of roles as males or something like that. I have to review the literature ont he subject and be able to analyse and support my  own conclusions and add to knowledge. Deep breath I can do this.

Some peopl ehave asked me do I get lonely here and miss home. Of course I miss my other half and buy do I miss my dog Gizmo but I have not had an occasion where I am sitting wondering what to do or feeling bored or isolated. That’s not because I have made loads of friends to go out with I haven’t been out much at all. It’s simply that I have good classmates who I interact with, all my classes are in the evening when you are more likely to get bored and I’m too busy doing coursework or looking for jobs to be bored.

Yeah that’s the subject of another wobble – the job front. It is hard because I can only work 20 hours a week and I admit I am struggling but in fairness I had not anticpated getting a job in the first couple of months anyway. I am looking at entry level jobs to get my foot in the door so to speak and am confident something will come up. If not I will simply have to start writing books very quickly, self publish and get all of you to buy them!

I’ve discovered I like my own company being able to do what I want when I want, not being told off for not cleaning dishes properly etc. I have got the internet up and running so can get some tv series and movies on the box. But I got addicted to a programme called married at first sight where couples are matched by experts and the first time they meet is when they get married. I don’t think they get married legally but they move in together full time and it’s full on.  I know it’s totally stupid but I am addicted which I can’t understand because I never got into big brother, I’m a celebrity, etc. The finale is Sun to Wed next week and I can’t wait.

I’m going to leave you with this which I am sure is funny if you understnad it but I am still working my way through it. Credit to whoever wrote it!

A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

A question mark walks into a bar?

A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.

Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”

A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

A synonym strolls into a tavern.

At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.

A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.

Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.

An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.

The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.

A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

A dyslexic walks into a bra.

A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.

An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.

A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.

A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.



Confession but don’t tell Gizmo

I have a confession to make but you have to promise not to tell my dog Gizmo. I am dog sitting another dog, Tilly, for a few days and she is an absolute sweetheart. She is smaller than Gizmo and is a cross between a Maltese, pom and Shih Tzu I think. She dances around the room on her hind legs and I’m afraid if I step on her she will break something.

She belongs to my next door neighbour who has gone away for a few days and it is lovely to have a dog in the house though still not the same as having Gizmo here.

Gizmo is still in process of getting bloods and other treatments and will fly on the 10th April. She will arrive in Melbourne on the 12th and spend ten days in quarantine before she is flown up to Brisbane so hopefully I will have her around 23rd April. Can’t wait to see her. I hope she gets on okay with little Tilly and they can be friends.

Studying after twenty years – where have the books gone

It is strange going back to study after twenty years. It’s not that I haven’t done courses to upskill myself, I have. the most recent was an advanced diploma in coaching but this is different this is a postgraduate this is where I need to pull on my big girl pants. This is where they give you assignments to do and you need a dictionary to understand what they are looking for. This is where you need to read – and by read I don’t mean my wonderful fiction books – I mean scholarly texts that I don’t understand. The lectures talk about reader centred writing but none of the research articles are reader centred. The more long words and sentences you use the better. And then there is the grammar – I’m sorry but I’ve never heard of the oxford comma, I barely even know how many tenses their are and as for when to use that or which – well I give up.

That is what makes it worth while because at the end of it my grammar and editing will be wonderful and I will be able to edit my own books, says with a chuckle.

So assignments are already due, the first one is due on Monday. It is to create a story blurb with ten points I want to put in my story. Ultimately this will be a full short story and will be the final assignement. So the creative juices are flowing and I am talking murder! Have got ahead of the game and submitted that early.

For one of my courses we have to submit a reflection on the lecture and it amazes me how creative some of the other students are, the use of graphics is wonderful and I wish I had their talent. It’s hard not to just use you rnotes as is even harder to keep it short even though there is no limit so to speak. The first one ran to two pages but it was spread out and had a couple of pictures. The second was half a page and I think it is worth a metnion if only because I got freaked out after I submitted it. We had two authors in conversation – one who planned and plotted, the other who flew by the seat of her pants ie plotter v pantser. I submitted my reflection and headed to facebook to see what was happening and the very first post was from someone having a mini rant about a podcast on plotters v pantsers. My computer is definitely watching me!

Next assignement due will be a book review. No I will admit that I have posted book reviews and I am aware of goodreads. I did it because I know some authors and I really liked their books so wanted to put them out there. I have never written a review about a book I didn’t like – I just wouldn’t do one because I recognise that books are the authors children and I don’t want to offend them. What I didn’t realise is that there is a proper methodolgy to book reviews which hopefully I have now embraced and can do real justice to the books I review. I am in process of doing a book review on a book called The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan. Dervla is a debut Irish novelest who livs in Perth. Will post more when the review is done!.

The next assignment is to do an interview with someone who writes as part of their work as opposed to someone whose writing is their work. Which practically means anyone who uses email in work. So I am doing an interview tomorrow with a lawyer who lives in Brisbane and whom I met a couple of years ago at a wedding in Spain! This will (I hope) become a feature article for another assessment.

I’m sure you are wondering why I mentioned books in the title. We had a session in the library the other night where a wonderful librarian called Angela gave use great information on how to research. The library has tons of computers but not a lot of books. Everything is digitalised now. You can still get physical copies of books but you have to wait for them. There is a technique to reseraching things which I have to admit I need to learn so have booked a one to one with Angela as I need it.

So am I holding my own? I think I am. I don’t know if I am the oldest in the class there are a couple of others who look about the same age but you know what it doesn’t matter. I have met up with some wonderful younger people who are happy to include me in their study group and believe I have a valid point of view. It’s great and they can and have helped me with things I am less sure on like the oxford comma.


Bringing the dog – Gizmo

It’s hard enough deciding to move to a country miles away as it is so there was never a doubt in my mind about bringing my dog. People think I am mad as it is only for two years and costs a fortune but I got Gizmo from a rescue centre and couldn’t leave her behind. She is a Shih Tzu, about 5 or 6 years old and just wants to be loved. She will follow me around the house and bark if I leave her in the room alone. So before I had even looked at colleges or thought about the visa I was researching how to bring your dog to Australia. Well it turns out that dogs actually need a lot more paperwork and other things than we humans do and you have to start the process well in advance.

So how do you do it? Well last July I started by getting a rabies vaccine for Gizmo – yes last July. This has to be done at least seven months in advance so if you want to bring your dog last minute you can’t (as Johnny Depp found out when he tried to bring his dogs on his private plane). A month after that they have to get a blood test done to make sure the vaccine worked. All of this needs to be recorded accurately along with their microchip number. There is a good step by step guide on the Australian Dept of Agriculture site http://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs/step-by-step-guides. Of course I didn’t have a date to go but estimated February 2018 and worked from there.

I would also recommend using a company for the transport as I can’t imagine how you would even go about doing it yourself. The first company I spoke to were on the recommendation of my vet as one of the girls who worked for it used to be her veterinary nurse. She was lovely but didn’t really talk me through the process properly and was concerned about even getting a flight for Gizmo as she is a shih tzu. Some airlines won’t carry some breeds of dogs who have squashed noses. I got a recommendation for another company and he talked through the process with me and has managed to book a flight. Before I left Ireland I wanted to make sure there was as much done as possible so that the other half only had to bring the dog to the vet on scheduled days. I had to apply for an import permit and preliminary book quarantine accommodation which is in Melbourne.

I know a lot of people won’t like the idea of their beloved pet being in quarantine but it is only 10 days now – if it was still the 6 months it used to be I wouldn’t have done it.

I am still on edge about the process, hoping the vet doesn’t make any mistakes in paperwork or what vaccines to give or blood to take as even the smallest mistake totally upsets the applecart. So Gizmo is booked to come over on the 10th April, will arrive on the 12th and go into quarantine for ten days so I am hoping she will be with me by 23rd April and I can’t wait. I came across this quote by Johnny Depp and thought it was apt since he tried to circumvent the process but didn’t succeed. He was lucky the dogs weren’t put down.

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
― Johnny Depp



Let the journey begin some background information

Hi my name is Teresa and I’m the living proof that you are never too old to go back to study. At 52 years old and twenty years after doing my degree I have returned to do a postgraduate Masters. That in itself is daunting but throw in a new country thousands of miles away and it is overwhelming to say the least. This blog will chart my journey, I hope it inspires others and am happy to answer any questions as I have learned a lot in the process.
So bit of background. I am married, mother of one – a twenty six year old son and have a beautiful granddaughter aged 18 months. My son went to Australia four years ago and never came home. He met a wonderful girl and they have a gorgeous daughter and they are making their home in Australia.
I was in favour of him travelling as I believe it is good for young people to travel. I regret not having travelled further afield to work than the UK/Spain and it meant we could have a long haul holiday to visit. I just never envisaged him settling there and certainly not having a family there. So that is the first impetus for my decision – I hated seeing my granddaughter growing up without me. I also lost a couple of friends and relatives who were still quite young and I started to think that life was too short not to follow your dreams. Thirdly I was at a crossroads workwise. My job had in all reality been done away with, my pay had been cut during the recession and I felt isolated and unsupported. An opportunity to take redundancy came up – it took from last May to the end of Jan 2019 to finally sort it out. When I told people what I was going to do I don’t think anyone believed me, certainly my other half didn’t but I believed in myself and made it happen.
So last September when I was in Australia for the christening I went to visit a few universities in Brisbane and think about what I might study. Why study you might ask. Australia is a tough country to get into and I was too old to get a skilled visa. Added to that I needed to upskill so that when I returned to Ireland I would have additional skills to set up in business for myself. But really the course just made the decision easy – to study writing, editing and publishing is something I never imagined. When I left school I wanted to be a journalist but back in the eighties opportunities were few and far between. I had done a bit of creative writing since then more recently in the last few years when I joined a wonderful Facebook writing group and I had also done a lot of writing in the course of my job from reports to policies to newsletters and funding applications. So I found the Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing in the University of Queensland – it gives me both professional academic and creative writing all in one so it was a no brainer. And then the laborious process of applying began!
People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free