17 Now!

Well here we are, May already. Kyah’s 17th birthday has just passed this week; not without lots of celebrations, loads of yummy food and cakes consumed,  and some fantastic memories made. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making Kyah feel extremely special; simply by contacting her, spending time with her, giving her a gift, or making her favourite meal and/or cake and spending time with her. The last few weeks have been very busy with birthday celebrations and socialising. We are fortunate that restrictions from COVID-19 have been lifted even if only slightly, which have allowed us to spend time with close friends.

 

Time flies by. We are almost into June of 2020. But even the years are moving by quickly. I can remember Kyah  starting out dancing as a two and a half year old. It really does not seem that long ago. But it must have been. Oh, how she has grown and matured since this photo.

Kyah 2006 – her first year of dance

Everyone around the world is still feeling the effects of COVID-19. It has been at least 9 weeks that Australia has been in lock down of some sort. On March 23, I removed Kyah from face-to-face classes. This was because I was not sure what to expect; the unknown of the new virus, its contagiosity, the incidence and it’s location in Australia. Add to that the fact Kyah was catching public transport to ballet and back home in the afternoons from school. I did not want to put her at any risk of getting sick. Thankfully, both of us have escaped from catching the virus and we managed to stay sane while confined to the home.

Over the holidays Kyah was pretty good with doing strength, cardiovascular, flexibility and prehab training on a daily basis. Her Pilates classes were put on hold  due to the lock down, so Kyah made use of the gym equipment we have at home.

Once term two started Kyah did ballet online. Queensland Ballet gave all students a 1x1m piece of tarkett flooring if they wanted / needed it. Because this is what they dance on we thought it best to take up the offer. They also offered to lend out a barre for students who wanted / needed one. Again, we took up the offer and borrowed a barre. This allowed Kyah to work at home with dance-specific equipment.

Classes happened on line every weekday and Saturdays from the start of term 2. It was obviously very different to face-to-face training; there was the very occasional glitch in the system; which is to be expected , but overall it worked quite well. Kyah did her ballet and dance requirements every morning, then got in and did her school work. She had priority for the gym at home – so when she had classes on and I had a client online, I taught in another room. It was only for a short period of time and we managed. Everyone has had to make sacrifices through this pandemic. Our sacrifices are nowhere near as inconvenient / devastating as some people have had to deal with.

Kyah is so close to finishing all her school and diploma requirements. She is really looking forward to having it all done and graduating from school at the end of this year. It is a bit frustrating for her having to wait over three weeks for feedback on some of her diploma work, which tends to slow her down a lot. But she seems to be filling in her time productively while she waits. She has just about completed her anatomy course, so she can then start the online Pilates course. There has been lots of work happening, but also lots of rest and relaxation. It is amazing how much spare time you have when travel is taken out of the equation.

We managed to get out of the house a couple of times and did some shopping. It is birthday month for us, on top of Mother’s Day. So we went out and did a bit of shopping, for each of us. We obviously practiced social distancing and good hygiene.  (Sorry, but who doesn’t normally practice good hygiene?) We got Kyah’s hair cut and put a colour in it; there’s no time when she is back in to her busy schedule, so we have made good use of her time. We did massive cleaning, culling and sorting of stuff in the house. I know this has been a very popular activity with a lot of people, during this lock down period.  We both had our ‘flu injections so we are ready to go out into the big real world again, feeling slightly armed against viruses.

Kyah has really missed doing her Pilates sessions. I can imagine when they are open again, which apparently is June 13, she will be booking in 4-5 times each week, if she can!!! She is really looking froward to getting back into those classes.

We have had friend’s birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, farewells, all observed keeping the recommended distancing and number of people regulations in the forefront of our minds. Thank goodness for the internet. Again lots of food consumed and good times enjoyed.

Easter was a kind of non-event, as I think it was for most people. It kind of seemed to come and go for us. It was a blur of days at home, doing much the same thing each day. We caught up with friends we haven’t chatted to for a while – that was lovely. And, we did some online shopping. So we did pretty much what the rest of the world did for the last nine weeks.

ANZAC Day celebrations were significant for us. We stood out on the driveway with our neighbours on theirs, remembering those that made os many sacrifices for our country. ANZAC Day is also a significant day for us, as Kyah lost an uncle in 2014 on ANZAC Day. His death was health related, but even still we stop and take time to connect with family and remember Vincent.

Two weeks ago the Queensland Government allowed the two senior years to go back to school, which meant Queensland Ballet Academy resumed face-to-face classes. Kyah really enjoyed getting back to the new facility and having like-minded people around her. She much prefers the interaction and instruction she receives when they are in the same room, as I imagine most of the them would.

Once restrictions were lifted here, we started going over to friends’ places. A few dinners, lunches and simply catching up with people. it’s been a very social last three weeks. We are now settling back into the safe confines of our home. We do not want to see this virus start to spread again, so we are trying to stay indoors as much as we can.

The neighbour’s cat loves to come over and visit. He is such a nice cat – definitely made me realise there are actually cats that can be affectionate and nice!!! Kyah enjoys playing with him and having the occasional snuggle.  Who needs a pet, when you can borrow the neighbour’s???

Restrictions have now been relaxed so it is possible for us to visit Dad in the nursing home. We plan on going down tomorrow to see how he is going. It has been a couple of months since we have seen him so we are both very much looking forward to seeing him tomorrow. We speak to him regularly on the phone, but that is not the same. So tomorrow will be nice to actually see him in person.

We were recently notified that there will be no Gala Performance for Queensland Ballet Academy at the end of this year. This is very sad, but to be expected. The dancers are still required to practice social distancing and there has been no pas de deux at all for almost the entire year.  This means dancers have had limited time to dance together and possibly will not perform at their best. Also considering the fact there is a high chance there will still be restrictions on numbers in auditoriums it would make performances possibly less than less than ideal to organise and conduct. This is such a shame, but I am sure something positive will come out of the decision.

So for the time being, life is slowly returning to normal as we knew it. Let’s hope and pray there is no second spike in the numbers of incidents of COVID-19.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. NASB

 

The COVID-19 Intrusion

I am sure everyone in the world has been affected by, and are aware of, the COVID-19 pandemic. It has definitely caused a change in most people’s lifestyles, ours included.

Generally the first term of school and dance was pretty busy. The usual routine was maintained. There was a level of tension in the air with the potential threat of contracting COVID-19 from anywhere.

Kyah was attending school and ballet as usual up until week 8 of term one. At this stage I thought it best to remove Kyah from all unnecessary risk of contracting COVID-19, so I pulled her out of school and had her doing her schooling from home. The only way Kyah could get to ballet was utilising public transport, so I made the decision to pull her out of that as well.

Up until the government introduced regulations on restricting contact and reducing potential contagion environments, Kyah was doing her usual Pilates sessions 3-4 times per week, as well as her prehab, school and diploma work. Since the restrictions have been implemented and Kyah is not attending ballet or school, all her work is being done from home. She is getting up relatively early each day, using the gym at home every day; doing some dance specific exercises along with general fitness and strength activities. She is also enjoying a bit of down time. It is quite amazing how much more time we all seem to have. Minimal to no outings is really creating some free time at home. We have played some board games and done some online shopping. There are some real bargains to be had at this point in time; we have just taken advantage of a couple of these.

Her ankle impingement is getting much better now and she is able to go en pointe for up to 5-10 minutes at a time. The break from dance has been good in that sense – she has not missed much in regards to dance instruction and classes. We are both hoping her feet will be better before face-to-face dance resumes.

Kyah is accessing the QB physio online which is helping her. She is doing everything she is supposed to in order to recover from the impingements.

Kyah is ploughing through her business diploma. It is a bit tougher for her to do it at the moment because she does not have assistance from the tutor at school, and it requires her to find her own level of drive and commitment to get it done. We all know how easy it is to delay doing something when there is no immediate deadline. But, she seems to be getting it done.

She has also completed six of the seven modules for her online anatomy course. This is great. Once she’s completed that she can get started with the online portion of the Pilates Instructor course. I am hoping she may get that completed over the next few months and undertake a face-to-face course sooner than originally planned. But we will see how restrictions go and when Kyah actually completes all her schooling requirements.

Life itself has been fairly quiet for us. We have not been out much at all. We have had hardly anyone come to visit. And we have definitely not had any parties or gatherings as we normally would. We are trying to contact our friends that are totally isolated because of the COVID-19 on a daily basis. Some people live alone and do not go out at all. This is to prevent putting them at risk of contracting this dreaded virus, and some of these people need to go to these extremes. So we are trying to ring them and chat with them every day, just so they do not feel too isolated or alone.

As I told you last post, my dad, Kyah’s grandfather, is in a nursing home in northern NSW. This was great, because it meant we had access to see him. But now, unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the nursing home is in lockdown and the border between NSW and QLD is closed. This means we are unable to see dad. We try to ring him every second day just to hear his voice and check in on him. Apart from a fall last week and splitting his head open, and being on antibiotics for cellulitis in his arm, he seems to be doing well. He is in his own little world and it’s lovely chatting to him and seeing what “jobs” and “meetings” he has planned for the day in the “system”. Even though he seems to have lost all comprehension and awareness of where he is, who I am, who Kyah is, and he does not remember anyone  else, I am trying not to be upset. He has wanted for so long to get to heaven. So the day he closes his eyes on this earth will be the same day he opens his eyes in heaven – he will be totally healed, totally well and happy. I am focusing on that for Dad.

We learned a very valuable lesson very quickly. We were out last month and purchased a cold drink each. The shop we went to is trying to be environmentally friendly and serve up paper straws. The drinks looked and tasted amazing, but within 5 minutes of using the straw, mine broke! I had to wait until I got home to finish my drink. TIP: take your own metal straw wherever you go..

     

Today, we received a piece of Tarkett flooring from QB. This is so the dancers are able to practice on the correct flooring at home. It is looking like all instruction will be online from next week for at least 6-8 weeks, with a reassessment after that. This is all in line with the government’s guidelines and restrictions. Obviously no one wants to relax restrictions and open borders too soon and have to go through all of this again, so hopefully everyone will continue doing the right thing to eliminate COVID-19 from the planet (if that is at all possible). Australia is looking to be doing the right thing with only 25 new cases diagnosed over the last 24 hours. I think the real proof will be in two weeks. If these numbers continue to fall then it will indicate that all Australians have done the right thing over the Easter break. Here’s hoping.

So Kyah is gearing up for at least the next 6-8 weeks to be working from home for both school and dance. I too am gearing up for her to be home! I work mostly from home and although my work has slowed a lot due to COVID-19, I am trying to get other things done such as paperwork and courses. So we will see how we go. Alex is still living with us too. At the moment he is working each day. But if that stops, there will be three people here at home all day … every day!!! Please Australia, do the right thing, let’s get rid of COVID-19. I like my own space.

We hope you are all safe and well, and managing with the restrictions. We are so thankful the panic buying has ended. We went shopping one day for essentials such as meat and salad for dinner. We were shocked to see the number of shelves in the grocery store that were empty. The only option we had to choose from in the meat section was “Duck Fat”, yes Duck Fat!!  We could buy plenty of ironing board covers, air freshener and duck fat; three things we really did not need. Needless to say we did not purchase many items that day. The infamous hand sanitiser has not been seen on the shelves since late February, so I have been making my own. It is extremely effective and accessible, which is what matters to me.

This time of isolation, will test our resilience in more ways than one. Try to make the most of it; connect with those close to you and those around you who do not have anyone to support them. Go through those cupboards and boxes you have not gone through for many years, but have been meaning to go through. Try to undertake a regular exercise program; do something every day for your physical and mental well being. There’s loads of free stuff available to you. Here’s my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/CoreStrengthHQ/. Have a look on there and my You Tube channel.  Try to find the positives in this environment. Take care and stay well.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called  according to His purpose. (NIV)

Isaiah 12:2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defence; he has become my salvation. (NIV)

Official Opening

We are almost half way through March already! Kyah hit the ground running this year. The brand new facilities at Kelvin Grove are absolutely amazing. One real positive for Kyah is that she only needs to catch one bus to the facility and she can get up at 5.15am, not 4.45am. That extra thirty minutes of sleep in the morning makes a big difference. I am sure it will make an even bigger difference when winter comes and it is dark and cold.

We have done some low-key stuff like mini shopping outings at both DFO and Chermside Westfield. These have been really nice for both of us; a bit of time out from the hustle and bustle of life, wandering around, relaxing and enjoying the time away from commitments. A few very good bargains have been acquired along the way too. An added bonus! We have also decided to go out for dinner once a month just the two of us. Somewhere simple, easy, convenient and has great food. There’s a great asian food place just down the road – we went there last week.

This year  Kyah has the opportunity to see the Queensland Ballet physiotherapist, so we are utilising that service. It is so much easier for her to see the physio at the facility, rather than me try to get her to another location to see Jo, her usual physio; who we totally love. However, time is very precious and it gets hard trying to fit everything in. I am sure you all know what I am saying.

Taken beside the Brisbane River, in West End.

At the moment, Kyah has an ankle impingement in her right foot. So on top of all her prehabilitation (prevention of injuries) she is seeing Louise (QB physio) regularly, along with her usual 3-4 times per week of Pilates sessions. On top of this she dances from about 7.30am to 1.15pm every  week day  and 8am to 2pm every Saturday. She is very busy with dance. Then let’s add year 12 studies into the mix.

She is getting through her scholarly work, including her Diploma of Business and the subjects she must complete for year 12. So she is looking like she will successfully complete year 12, which is great. On top of that she has added an online anatomy course! (Oh dear, I see she has picked up some of my behaviours – taking on a lot – perhaps too much,  work!). The anatomy course is so she can become a Pilates instructor when she has time to take on a part-time job. She loves her Pilates and she understands a lot about correct technique and ideal posture, and she knows how to motivate people to exercise, so I think she’d be great at it. The prerequisite for the Pilates course is that she have a certain level of anatomy study completed, then she can do the theory portion of the Pilates course and then the practical portion. This may take until November / December to complete due to time constraints with ballet and the need for face to face learning, but that is okay.

Kyah’s grandfather and grandmother on my side, have both had major health issues over the last six months. It has been a very distressing time for both of us and a lot of unnecessary angst has come about due to certain behaviours. But we are looking for the positives in the situation and finally we found one. Dad was moved into a nursing home so we were able to see him. It was so nice to see him, to sit with him, to chat with and to pray with him.  We hope to be able to see him again very soon, as he is not geographically close to us, it makes it a bit difficult time-wise. But we will find a way.

We had a friend, Alex, move in with us. It is really nice to have someone staying with us for a while. He is from Maryborough and currently looking for work. We are all hoping and believing the right job will come up for him very soon.

We had another gathering at our place. Just a little BBQ, with about 15 people. It was a fun night, as usual. Kyah and Luell managed to use the old “water through the cracks in the verandah” to wet a number of unsuspecting people down below. It was quite amusing watching it happen. Fortunately Brisbane is quite warm and they dried off quickly. Good company, good food, good laughs – something we all need on a regular basis. It was a great evening – just what we both needed.

The official opening for the Queensland Ballet Academy facility was on Friday March 6. There were a number of dignitaries including Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations, the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Queensland Ballet Patron and Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, present. Channel 7 filmed the event. It was a very successful opening. There was a number of people moving through the facility looking at the amazing building as well as  watching the classes. On Saturday, those that had donated to QBA to help furnish the facility were able to walk through the building and see the equipment their donations had contributed to. They were also able to watch portions of classes again.

Here is the link to the Channel 7 article on the opening https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=196230058373112. I can see Kyah in both clips of dancers, I wonder if you can???

We are conscious now more than ever of Kyah eating well and getting enough rest. The COVID-19 virus that is set to hit Australia in the next few weeks will impact a lot of people. We are not alarmists by any means, but we are both taking the potential threat seriously. If we can remain healthy and continue to practice ideal hygiene habits, we both believe we will get by without too much of a direct impact on us personally. We hope you all do too.

Taken beside the Brisbane River, in West End.

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord

John 15:16  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Here We Go 2020

Well, the end of 2019 was relatively easy for Kyah. She finished school and dance about mid November. She had a fair bit of time on her hands, so she was doing Pilates 4-5 times each week. She was also doing her business diploma. She made sure she had some down time, lots of resting, sleeping, recovering from the busy year, but she also kept up her training. Food wise, she indulged a little bit, but got back on track fairly quickly.

In December she went to see Queensland Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. As always, Queensland Ballet did an amazing job of this ballet. Kyah really enjoyed watching it. It was the final commitment Kyah had for the year.

We had a Christmas party at our place mid December. It was a pretty good afternoon / evening of laughs, fun and super soaker fights. Very appropriate for the temperature of Brisbane.

We caught up with a friend at Southbank. He’s from the Gold Coast and we might see Gerry every few months. We had a swim at Southbank which was lovely; the water was not cold at all – which is one thing both Kyah and I do not like. After swimming for at least an hour we went and had dinner at GYG  then dessert at Cowch. I have never had ice cream so creamy ever! This dessert bar is simply amazing. A bit on the expensive side, but the taste is just so creamy and divine. If you get a chance to go there, you really should try it out.

We headed down to Port Stephens on 21/12/19. A friend of ours mother passed on 18/12/19 so the funeral was 23/12/19. The drive down was very long. So much traffic and road works most of the way. It took over 11 hours for us to get there. 2 hours to get from Brisbane to the southern end of the GC! Not a good start. Kyah did some driving and she did really well. Seeing places along the highway that were totally burnt out from the fires that had passed through there only days before was a reminder of just how far the fires had spread at that time.

NSW and QLD have different road rules when it comes to L platers. L drivers in QLD can drive the recommended speed limit. In NSW, L drivers cannot exceed 90km/h even on the motorways. Displaying the L plates is also different rules, so we made sure we were compliant with the correct rules for the state she was driving in.

We saw Kyah’s dad and the dogs. Spent a fair bit of time with the dogs. They were pretty happy to see us. Walks along the beach, playing with them, and them sitting on my lap!  We saw a couple of friends on the Saturday and Sunday but that was it.  Time was pretty short so we were not able to see many people at all. It was a shame, because we wanted to see a lot of people and catch up with them, but what can you do? We stayed one night with Tina and Vanessa, which was great. Then we stayed 3 nights with Anne, which was also great. Funeral was Monday. It was so nice to see our dear friend Sandra, but it would have been much nicer under different circumstances.

Tuesday we had Christmas drinks with some friends at Anne’s. That was lovely. We did presents that evening with Anne. Then Christmas Day, Wednesday, we drove to Sydney. It was a very different Christmas Day to say the least, but without speaking badly about anyone, let me just say families can be very trying. I had to file a missing persons report to find out where my Dad was!!! Not something I was expecting. Kyah was so supportive  of me the entire day and she really never had a Christmas Day because we were looking for Dad, at the police station and on the phone trying to speak to Dad. Such a sad and shocking day for both of us.

Aside from that we caught up with my friend Monisha, who we haven’t seen for about 7 years. We went to her wedding in Fiji and she now lives in England. So we don’t get to see her much at all. It was really nice seeing her. We stayed with Kyah’s paternal grandmother on Christmas night. It was lovely seeing her and one of Kyah’s cousins. I am so glad Kyah has relatives on her dad’s side that are nice and she sees on a semi-regular basis.

Boxing Day we got on the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas cruise ship. A 10-day cruise around the south island of New Zealand. Apparently, the ship is the largest to come to the southern hemisphere. It takes about 5000 passengers. It is big. Far too big for our liking. There was so many people on the ship we did not get to do many activities that we wanted to do. The queues for each thing were so long. We simply did not want to stand around waiting for a turn. If you really wanted to do something, see a show, participate in something, you had to go to that venue at least an hour before start time to ensure you got a decent seat. So our holiday was nowhere near as active as we had anticipated, very relaxing … we both did need to rest. Cruise life can be very relaxing and very easy. Food was fantastic, staff were so friendly.  It was just a shame there was so many people on the ship and wait times were so long. I did leave a constructive evaluation with Royal Caribbean, but they never replied. That too is disappointing.

One thing we did do that was so much fun was the indoor skydiving. I just loved it. Kyah didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, but I recommend if you ever get a chance to do it, to take up the opportunity. It was great fun.

 

We did a cupcake decorating class at Jamie Olivers’s Restaurant. Here is the final products – not very technical, but the bonus was they you got to eat your products.

 

We went to the gym on the ship eight of the ten days which was really good. The two days we didn’t go was because of the day tour commitments we had. Kyah allowed herself to eat a few indulgent things the first 3-4 days, then stuck with the more healthy options for the remainder of the trip. Really we don’t “get our money’s worth” on a cruise, because we sometimes only have 2 meals a day, and we definitely don’t overload our plates with food. Each to their own. We enjoyed eating the healthy options without having to prepare them ourselves or clean up afterwards.

Most of the day tours we did were really good. We were about 10cm from little Blue Penguins nesting and were looking straight into their eyes as they were laying there. We saw Yellow Eyed Penguins on the beach, apparently these are listed as an endangered animal species, with only about 4000 of them living. We had a 4 day old fur seal and it’s father right beside us on a path. We watched a colony of fur seals playing and then two males almost had a fight. These encounters with nature were just so special.  We had smoke from Dunedin all the way back to Australia, due to the extent of the fires in Australia and the direction of the winds.

The towel folding talents of the housekeeping staff was something to be admired. This was a display on the final day on the ship.

Once we disembarked on January 5,  we drove from Sydney to Newcastle and caught up with Kyah’s dance teacher from The Bay. It was so nice to see her. She is always so encouraging with Kyah and supportive of where Kyah is going and what she is doing. Then we headed to The Bay.

Kyah was planning on spending a week with her dad and seeing people in The Bay,  but decided against it. So she came home with me. We left at 4am on January 6. The traffic was much better. It only took 9 hours all up to get home.

Leading up to school and ballet, Kyah has been doing Pilates 3-4 times each week, exercises in the gym at home and all her foot strengthening exercises every night. She has definitely matured with her attitude towards building the foundation of strength, which is so good to see. She had to have a medical with the GP. We have been on a couple of rather enjoyable shopping days. We went and Saw “Bombshell”. We’ve been out for dinner with friends. We’ve been culling more stuff from our house; selling a few items, giving other items away, both large and small. It’s great to get rid of things we don’t want or need anymore.

Tuesday was orientation for Queensland Ballet and school. The new facility has just opened up at Kelvin Grove and it is amazing. https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/academy/about-academy/facilities     The kids in the academy are so fortunate to have such a world-class facility for their use.  Kyah is looking forward to the year ahead. She has stayed fit and strong over the break, so she should not have any issues with returning to dance and experiencing soreness. Her school load should be fairly easy as she has been doing some of her diploma every day since we got home from the cruise. This year, she only has english and diploma to complete. She is undertaking further studies but I will tell you about that next post.

2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. NIV

Note: the photos of the flowers were taken in Zealandia Sanctuary, New Zealand.

Almost There

Well, we are almost at the end of 2019. What a frantically busy year it has been for both of us. Kyah finally has some time now to slow down a bit and get her breath back ready for next year.

Just after the last post, we went  to a girlfriend’s (Hannah’s) 18th birthday party. That was loads of fun. A few of us are now of the age where we really have no concern for what people think of us having fun, enjoying ourselves. So Kyah ended up having a great laugh with a friend of ours, Steve, at the rest of us enjoying ourselves. We all had a great time; perhaps for different reasons but that’s OK.

We had one homestay girl leave and another homestay arrive. This one was a male school teacher from Japan. He was really interesting. We had lots of great discussions about life in Japan. He was a real pleasure to have stay with us. He only stayed in Australia for ten days, so it was a very short stay, but also a busy time. The other homestay girl we had staying with us, finally moved out towards the end of November. She was also an absolute pleasure to have stay with us. I think that might be it for homestays for the rest of the year.

It is kind of nice having just Kyah and I in the house for the time being. We are looking at the possibility of having someone stay with us permanently next year, so that will be nice.  We are discussing it with him at the moment. In the meantime, we are going through all our stuff we have managed to accumulate and are culling things we do not need. The house is a mess, but soon enough it should be a more sparse, tidy home.

How is this for decoration on a coffee? I thought it was pretty cool, so decided to take a photo of it. I have never seen swans on coffee before and found that pretty amazing so thought I should show off someone else’s handiwork. The swirls are a result of me stirring the coffee. Even this was quite amazing – a different pattern was created. I found that quite fascinating and thought I should share.

                     

Kyah went to the Powerhouse in Brisbane and saw QB perform Bespoke. Apparently it was really good. I had a ticket but I somehow managed to double book myself for that night. I gave my ticket to a girlfriend and I caught up with an old school friend. We both had lovely evenings. It is very unusual for me to overlook something like that, but there’s been heaps going on. That’s my excuse and I will stick to it!

We had a girls night one night. Who needs a reason to get together? We don’t. Just a group of girls decided to get together and catch up over food and great conversation. We all had a great time. It is not often we take the time out of our busy schedules, but it is essential sometimes to have some down time with lovely friends, just so we can get up and go the next day, week, month. We both find the enjoyment and good memories of these times far outweighs the tiredness we may experience from an hour less sleep. It is worth it. We also try to schedule these things for Kyah on weekends, so she has a chance to catch up on any lost sleep immediately. It is not good for her to be living her busy life sleep deprived.

Weekdays have been busy for Kyah with finalising all school assessments, doing her diploma as well as her dance commitments. She is ploughing through her business diploma; it has proven to be more time consuming than we thought, in that receiving decent feedback from drafts is taking a lot longer than anticipated or expected. So Kyah currently has  four modules on the go, waiting for final approval of each and then checking them off. It will be really nice when it is fully completed. We anticipate she should be totally finished by April next year.

One weekend in November we had a very quiet, very low-key weekend. Did not go anywhere. We both needed a rest and I wanted Kyah to be fully rested and prepared for her ballet exams that following week. It was such a nice restful time. Both of us benefited from it. It is so unusual for us to have literally nothing on over a weekend. It was just wonderful. I should try to make sure there is more of them next year.

Kyah continues to see her physiotherapist regularly for prehab. Jo is great. She was a dancer in a past career, so she can very much relate to Kyah and her niggles and knows exactly what she needs to work on. It also helps that Jo and I think along the same lines, so I am very confident with what she recommends for Kyah, which is fantastic. The best thing is that Kyah listens to Jo! Prehab is essential; the prevention of injuries is so much the preferred to rehabilitation. So far what we are doing seems to be working quite well. Kyah has not had an injury this year. We will continue doing this over the Christmas break as well as next year. If we are finding it is not as effective as it has been this year, we will reassess and implement new plans.

Kyah had her dance exams  over four days in mid November. She felt quite confident that she did a good job. We got her results and she is back in QB for next year, Praise The Lord. They have asked her, and two others, to repeat this year. We are actually really pleased about this for Kyah. The year she has just completed, and is going to repeat, is focused more on technique, so she will have a chance to really master her technique, get a great foundation of technique, get a lot stronger and a lot more confident, especially with pas de deux dance. It is also really nice that the other two people that have been asked to repeat she gets on very well with, so we are looking forward to next year.

Kyah’s dad came up to stay with her while I went to Sydney for a weekend. I am sure she thoroughly enjoyed her dad’s company instead of mine for a change.

QB allow family and friends to watch classes on a specific day each semester. I was fortunate enough I could rearrange clients and sit to watch all the classes Kyah was in. It is always nice to see how they practice and how they interact with each other. I do love watching Kyah dance and I can see she just loves dancing. We are still believing it is part of His big plan for her, and we walk by faith.

Kyah has been attending Pilates sessions regularly. Getting stronger and more aware of what she needs to work on. In the holidays she plans to do Pilates at least four times each week, plus other stuff in our gym to stay strong, and prepared for next year. Once they start back it is straight into it. There is a level of expectation that each dancer stay strong, fit and flexible over the break so Kyah plans to do just that.

We did a very quick trip down to the Gold Coast. Kyah needed to see the orthodontist for a check up. While we were down there, we stopped in at a number of dance stores and fitness places and showed them my books I have written. So far they have proven to be very successful and very much wanted, which is great. I hope it continues. Kyah doesn’t like the dance book because it features her as the model for most exercises. Oh well, too bad! She was the best, most convenient option for a model I had. If any of you are interested in looking at the books, here is the link http://www.corestrengthhq.com/product-category/books/

We managed to see a couple of friends for very short times while we were down on the Gold Coast.  It was nice to see friends, and catch up, even if it was only for a very, short time. Even though it is only an hour away, we hardly ever get down there anymore.

We set the Christmas tree up and all the decorations. Kyah didn’t like the Christmas wreath we had. (I have had it for at least 20 years – it has served me well though). Anyway, she kept on about how it was too small and didn’t look nice. So we went to Spotlight and spent two hours in there; choosing things that I could use to make a new Christmas wreath. We do like to wander around and browse in that shop. We ended up purchasing a number of things so I could make a new wreath from scratch. I wanted to make my own rather than buy one. At least that way I know it is ours and no one else will have one the same .Here’s the before and after.

Here are the items I used to make the new wreath

This is the new wreath. It is at least twice the size of the original – Kyah is now happy!

We have had a lot of socialising this past month. It has been nice. We also went and saw A Christmas Carol; at QPAC. It is adapted and created by shake & stir theatre co. We both thoroughly enjoyed the performance. It was really different to go to QPAC and see something other than the ballet. I am not complaining at all about how much ballet we see, it was simply a nice change.

I (along with many others), had helped QB on their “Giving Day” – making phone calls to help raise money to fit out the new building that is being constructed at Kelvin Grove State College. As a “thank you” to the volunteers, QB allowed us to watch the rehearsal of Act 1 of The Nutcracker. It was so interesting … simply fascinating to see these dancers performing in clothes that were not their costumes, and having imaginary props – some props were there, but others weren’t. Then when you see the actual performance (I have seen The Nutcracker a number of times) it is just amazing that what they have been rehearsing is almost identical to what they do on stage with props. It is definitely a very underrated skill and talent these athletes have.

Here is a photo of the very unique Christmas tree Queensland Ballet have. I think it is fantastic. The pointe shoes have been put to good use.

We have pretty much completed our Christmas shopping. A few different shopping expeditions, and we are pretty much done. We need to give each other our presents before Christmas Day. We will not be at home then, as we are off on a cruise – so it is necessary for us to do it beforehand. It is amazing how fast the time is going. Almost two weeks and it will be Christmas! Still so much to do before then.

We are planning for Kyah to have some time down at The Bay in January, with her dad and other friends of hers. She will also be doing exercise, and her diploma, just to ensure she is on top of everything. It kind of never ceases, but this is the life of any serious athlete.

We went to the QB breakup yesterday. It was nice to speak to all her teachers, even if it was only briefly. They are extremely happy with Kyah and her efforts this year, but want her to get much stronger. It is difficult for someone with Kyah’s body type. She is hyper mobile and so the perception is that she is not as strong as others. But in actual fact, sometimes she is stronger than other people that are less mobile than her. It can be deceptive. We really don’t mind that she has been asked to repeat. We totally believe it is God’s will and the best thing for Kyah. She knows all the dancers in the year below, so next year it won’t be that daunting for her, she will be with two friends from this year and she knows everyone moving up to level 2.

Kyah is off to see The Nutcracker  this Thursday night. It is part of the QB Academy program, and if the academy students are around and want to watch the final dress rehearsal, they are able to. I think it is a great opportunity for the students to watch. Most of the kids will be heading home to wherever they live, so we are thinking that there won’t be many students there watching. But Kyah enjoys watching the dress rehearsals – it is a great way to see the company perform.

So we are winding down to Christmas, or rather winding up to Christmas and all the activities we have planned over our break. Still so much to do before we go on our cruise. I am hoping that  once we get on that ship we will be able to turn off the brains and relax for a while, in amongst the daily gym sessions, rock climbing, indoor sky diving, dodgem cars and all the evening entertainment we have planned.

Life has been good to us this year and we are very much looking forward to next year.

Deut 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (NASB)

She Performed Beautifully

The Queensland Ballet Academy Gala for 2019  is now complete. There were four performances in total. Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night and Sunday day. The week leading up to the busy weekend was rather hectic too. We had a new homestay arrive on the Sunday morning. All dancers had the Monday of school and dance and the entire week off school to prepare for the shows. Kyah used her time wisely; did a pilates class, some school work and rested on the Monday. Tuesday onwards she had 11-12 hour days. Leave home 9am, home by 10-10.30pm.

The change in routine was tough for both of us. We are usually in bed, if not preparing for bed by 8.30pm. So the late nights were a bit of a shock to the system, but it needed to be done. In preparation for a performance or competition, if you are performing / competing at 10pm, there’s no point training at 8am. You need to try to get your body to adapt to performing at the new time. So I figured that’s why they were working those hours. It may have been another reason totally, but I am sticking with that line of thought.

Anne arrived on Wednesday evening. So I had to pick Kyah up from rehearsals at 10pm and drive to the airport, pick up Anne, and then drive home. Anne had to wait at the airport for us to come to pick her up, but she knew that would be the case.. Kyah drove. She did well. Once we got home, we sat up for a short while chatting to Anne.

Thursday, we picked up another girl, Meg, (we did this every day that week), and drove Kyah and Meg to rehearsals. Then Anne and I volunteered for 2 hours at Queensland Ballet. It was their Giving Day. Queensland ballet were hoping to raise $2m in a 24 hour period. For every dollar that was donated, certain sponsors were quadrupling the amount. So Anne and I helped for a couple of hours with that. In the end QB were successful in raising the money they wanted. This money will go towards fitting out the new premises at Kelvin Grove State College. Hopefully it will be complete by early next year, ready for the academy students to use.

We picked Kyah up at 10pm. By this stage her dad had arrived, so there was more excitement in the air for her. I still had to work, so I got both Anne and Kevin working for me! They were preparing lunch for Kyah, doing the drop off and pick ups, and I had them do lots of food prep for us. It was almost like a commercial kitchen at one point. We had so much food being cooked, it was amusing. The freezer is now full of ready made meals for us to pull out and eat when we need. I think they will last us for a good 2-3 months.

On top of the meals made, chocolate brownies and protein balls were made. Some of these were consumed over the busy weekend. The rest are being consumed this week, while I recover.

Their first performance was Friday night. When Kyah came home, she was hyped up so it was difficult for her to settle and go to bed and sleep. Saturday was a hectic day: I had clients early. Kyah needed to be  at the venue by 10am. We had another homestay student arrive at 10.30am. A friend, Grace, arrived at midday, because she was coming with us. We left just after midday. Met up with Ruth, Clare, Kirsten, Annie, Deb and Eloise. We were all spaced around the theatre because we’d purchased tickets at different times. Me being the ardent mum that I am, managed to purchase tickets in the front row! Kyah is used to that by now – having me right in her face. Her biggest fan and also one of her biggest critics. The performance was great. Amazing talent, ability, technique, choreography, presentation, costumes, music, lighting, staging. It was great. Very much worth seeing.

Deb, a friend who came with us has been going to the ballet for many, many years. Her comment was that she “…forgot she was watching adolescents…” That’s a good compliment, one that I totally agree with. QB are doing a fantastic job of teaching these up and coming dancers.

The ten of us (Ruth, Clare, Kirsten, Annie, Deb, Eloise, Kevin, Anne, Kyah and I)  met afterwards, took photos, and then had burgers and a drink. It was so nice to see everyone and catch up on some of their news, even if it was only for a short while. We are both very thankful to everyone who came and supported Kyah as well as those who sent messages of well-wishes for her performances. It means a great deal to both of us.

Kyah had to prepare for the next show that evening, and we all headed home. Kevin (her dad) drove back to Newcastle. Anne and I sat around and waited for 10pm to come again, for pick up. This particular evening Jimmy Barnes was performing at Riverstage; right beside Gardens Theatre. Needless to say there was people everywhere and I got to hear a few songs from Jimmy while I was waiting for Kyah to come out.

Sunday was again another hectic day. Dropped Kyah to Gardens Theatre. Anne and I found the Northside Flower Market and bought some absolutely beautiful flowers. Believe it or not, they actually have a scent and as I am writing this, 4 days after the purchase, they still look as fresh as the day we bought them!!! We then went to church, had lunch with a group of friends, picked Kyah up at 4.15pm. Drove Anne to the airport. Drove home and Kyah unpacked from the busy week. Then I had to turn around and go back to the airport to pick up one of the homestay girls.

It was a very busy week and I am still recovering. Kyah had Monday off school, as it was a pupil-free day, so that gave her a bit of an opportunity to recover, which is great for her. Unfortunately, one of the girls coughed on Kyah all weekend and now Kyah is feeling a bit unwell, but we are hoping she can get on top of it by the morning.

 

The last couple of weeks leading up to the Gala week were also busy, but we had some fun activities thrown in there as well.

We went to the Queensland Museum to see the Space Exhibition. It was pretty interesting; lots to see, loads of facts and information about space travel. We spent almost 3 hours in there, so that should say something. That same afternoon we went to the movies and saw Ad Astra, with Brad Pitt. The movie was good to watch, especially after we had spent so long in the museum looking at space stuff beforehand. (It wasn’t planned that way – it just worked out it happened that way). So we had a very space-focused day. At one stage when Kyah was young, she wanted to be an astronaut, so it was very absorbing for her.

Kyah was asked to do a dance at church as a special celebration to pray for the Jewish people and Jerusalem. She looked beautiful, and her performance was lovely. She choreographed the dance a few days beforehand, so it was all totally her input. So many people gave her compliments afterwards about how they were in tears and deeply moved because the dance was so anointed. That was really encouraging for her to hear. I can imagine there will be more of that to come.

We are looking for a new place to move into. Where we are is really not that accessible with public transport. Even though we live 4.5km from the school Kyah attends, it may take her over an hour to get home some afternoons, because of the timing  and routes of the public transport. This is not really ideal. She had dance practice recently that fell on a public holiday, in preparation for the Gala performance. Kyah had to leave home with me very early so I could drop her to public transport that would get her there on time. I was working with clients, otherwise I would have dropped her in there. So, we need to look for a new place to live. That is taking a bit of our time at the moment. Checking places out on the internet, going to look at some of them…. My gripe: it is very interesting the measurements written on floor plans … for some reason they seem to be very exaggerated in some cases. I wonder when the real estate industry will get an overhaul. It is very disappointing to turn up to a place when you are expecting floor sizes to be 4.5m x 7.2m and you know by looking at the room that the measurements have been increased by 25% at least.

We went and watched a local dance school perform their end of year show. The intention was to see the standard the kids are at and what type of dance school they are; what genres they focus on, music selection, costumes and age appropriate dance moves. We were very pleased with what we saw and had the assurance that Kyah would be able to teach dance to the younger kids. This is something we want to look into her doing next year, so we are looking around now. Obviously, the dance school will also be determined by where we move to. But it doesn’t hurt to look.

We are now in the final term of school. Lots of things for Kyah to complete before the end of year. Dance exams will be coming up very soon. As yet they have not been told a date, but I can imagine it will be very soon. After that they then get told if they are accepted back into Queensland Ballet Academy for next year. We are hoping and believing for God’s plans to come to fruition. Everything is in His time.

Numbers 23:19-21  God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? 

Upcoming Gala Performance

Gosh how the time is flying. Another month is gone. School holidays for Kyah have come and gone. She was fortunate enough to have one week off both school and dance, and now she is back into dance, with another week off school.

I will fill you in on the happenings since the last post, as best I can. Kyah was doing some of her Diploma work on her computer and managed to spill some water on her laptop computer! It wouldn’t turn on so I suggested she grab a tea towel and place it on the bench, then cover the tea towel in raw rice. Place the laptop keyboard on the rice with some books on it, to ensure the laptop did not fall. Leave it for more than 20 minutes and hope and pray. Well, after 30 minutes the computer worked again. I am figuring the rice absorbed the moisture that was in the keys. So she was able to use her computer and back everything up. Even though the computer worked, she said it was running very hot, so it was off to the computer store to purchase another laptop. Oh my gosh they get you with the price now don’t they? Captive audience aren’t we??

I have had to delete all the files from Kyah’s laptop and iPad so we can trade them in, as we no longer need them. As I was going through the files I found the journal Kyah had done on our trip through Canada. It was so nice reading it and remembering the holiday, but also reading it from a nine and a half year olds’ perspective. We would happily go back to Canada, especially Yellowknife; we had such an amazingly different experience.  Down to minus 30 degrees. Snow over one meter high beside the roads. Dog sledding. Snow shoeing. Ice walks where crampons were essential footwear. Seeing beavers nests and how they set up for winter. Watching the set up for ice fishing nets on the lake the ice truckers use. Riding snow mobiles. Mushing. Skiing Whistler and Blackcomb. Having snow come up to your waist as you walk. And the most memorable of all experiences – seeing the Aurora Borealis.

This was taken in Canada when we were doing an ice walk in Johnston Canyon.

Back to reality…

Kyah has managed to get through all her subjects for term three. She is confident she has passed all her subjects; as yet we have not received a school report for all the subjects she is doing. I imagine the report will be forthcoming.

She is now almost half way through her Diploma in Business so she is able to drop a subject at school. This will be implemented as of term four – starting next week. What a relief for her. The Diploma course is proving to be very time consuming as it requires feedback on numerous drafts for the same module. The feedback is taking time to receive as well, so it seems to be a bit frustrating in that Kyah is not able to complete a module, have it marked and signed off as ‘successfully completed’ and move on to the next module. She is currently waiting on feedback for three modules and starting another one. It’s a bit confusing, but it is how she must do it in order not to waste too much time. She will get there.

We are thinking that next year while she is completing year 12 she will be able to undertake a part time job. We are hoping it may be in dance teaching or in a dance shop. But she should have some time free for a job. This would be amazing to think with the huge load they have with dance and school, but it is a genuine possibility. It will also be good for Kyah to get out there into the employment world and take on added responsibilities. Available time for her will be the determining factor.

Our two homestay girls finally moved out. They were with us for two months. They were very pleasant to have around and absolutely no problem at all. It is great for Kyah to have people around that she has to consider. Being an only child she can become very used to not considering others, so I think it is a good thing to have others in our house. We have another student arrive in a couple of weeks and two teachers attached to international schools coming. I think by the end of November we should be just about done with the homestay people for the year. It does keep us busy, but also it is nice to be able to open our home to others and make them feel welcome when they are in our country.

Our cruise has been paid for. We are definitely going to NZ. Both of us are very much looking forward to it. It will be a much needed break. Loads of activities to do on the ship, as well as participate in fitness classes, go to the gym, racing dodgem cars, rock climbing, indoor sky diving, along with simply sitting down to meals and not having to prepare them, nor having to clean up afterwards. My idea of a perfect holiday. Bring it on.

The last few weeks of school were pretty busy for Kyah. Finalising all assessment tasks, getting her diploma done and ballet. Queensland Ballet have an upcoming Gala performance in October. So the dancers have all been preparing for that. Kyah has been doing her 2-3 sessions of pilates each week as well. She has got to stay on top of prehab and maintain and improve her strength all the time. The preparation days for the Gala are very long. She leaves home by 6am and arrives home after 5pm. She is at dance all day. So when she gets home, it is feet up or feet in an ice bucket,  bit of rest, eat a healthy dinner, shower, unpack, prepare for the next day. Then she repeats the process the next day… a bit like Groundhog Day. She is enjoying it though.

There are a number of dear friends coming to watch Kyah perform in the Gala. I am really looking forward to catching up with every one of you. It is only 2 weeks away. So much to get done before then…

We had a bit of a gathering at our place in September. About 20 people, all playing games, laughing, enjoying each others company. It was lovely. Kyah managed to corrupt one of the “more responsible” women. She had Luell and herself go out on to the back verandah with a bottle of water and gently pour it through the timber cracks down onto some of the people sitting and chatting at the BBQ table!! I knew what was going on, but the others didn’t for a little while. They thought it was spray from a bottle being opened or sprinkles of rain. It was actually very funny to see it happening. They had fun. It was a great time for all, memories made and friendships strengthened.

Kyah went down to see her dad for a few days last week. She flew down and back. While she was there she caught up with a couple of friends, which she loved doing, she went to the gym with a friend. But mostly she spent the time with her dad and the dogs. She said she had a nice time. I think the fact she had no structure, except attending the gym each afternoon (thank you Tina), and just chilling without any commitments was exactly what she needed. Now it is back to the routine.

She arrived back on Thursday night, to give her a day to unpack, settle back in and wind up for the sprint to the end of the year. She started back dancing on Saturday, and it will be full on until after their Gala and exams.

We received her report for QB and she is doing really well. We are both very pleased with the report. Obviously there is always room for improvement, but it seems she is doing well and is meeting all criteria more than satisfactorily. This is not a guarantee she will be in again next year, but we walk in hope and faith on that promise. We will find out after the Gala and the exams, which will be early to mid November. Keep praying for God’s will to be done, please.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. KJV

September 26 marked three years since her horrendous accident. She was boarding the plane to come home at the exact time it happened three years ago. Her foot does not give her any problems at all. It is still a bit larger in the ankle, but that will probably never change. I thank God every day for the miracle of healing and the blessing He has given her. We are blessed in that others have heard of her injury and can see the number of miracles that happened regarding her foot including the complete healing of it. It may give them hope and direction and possibly plant a seed of faith in them that will grow.

We have heard that one of Kyah’s most lovely dance teachers, back when she was very young, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Robyn really was the instigator in us pursuing Kyah’s ballet career. She recognised Kyah’s ability even when she was 8 and 9 years old. When we left Port Stephens, it was Robyn who said to us that Kyah really should pursue ballet and that she has huge potential in the ballet world. We catch up with Robyn when we can and hopefully we will be able to see her over Christmas. Our thoughts and prayers are with her through this tough time.

On another sad note, one of my dearest friends has been diagnosed as having a tumour in her pancreas. We are hoping surgery to remove and then reconstruct the pancreas will be all that is needed, but we must wait and see, and hope and pray. Both Kyah and I simply adore Sandra and this has been a huge blow to us.

Trying to stay positive:

Ever wondered what cheese and bacon rolls would look like if your child (Kyah in this case) left a packet of them in the glove box of the car for 16 days? Well, here’s your answer!!  Thankfully the bag was closed and there was no smell. But I would not recommend anyone do it. Needless to say, they went straight in the bin, no consideration of giving the scraps to the birds or dogs.

Kyah has been doing some driving and is going well. Her confidence is growing along with her ability. She is learning to read the traffic more effectively each time she drives, and she is becoming more aware of how to spot a lunatic on the road. Driving home yesterday there was one of those tiny motor scooters that simply do not have the power to reach 40km/h. What an experience for her. Cars were trying to get away from the scooter, pushing in and out of different lanes, the scooter rider was (I think) totally oblivious to the traffic confusion they were causing. It was quite amusing to watch, and teach Kyah what to do and what not to do and see how certain drivers respond when they realised they were driving behind a very slow vehicle. Kyah did well to merge with the traffic and avoid being stuck behind this scooter.

We use the driving app and it is so easy. Kyah simply puts in the odometer reading and the start location. Presses start and the app follows where we drive. When we get to the end she then puts in the odometer reading again. If it is night time she needs to specify that, otherwise it gets registered as a day drive. I then go online with an email prompt and approve the drive. Then the time gets added to her diary. It is so easy. If any of you are thinking of doing it this way or manually, I recommend doing it this way. It is so easy.

Our home is turning into a bit of an animal farm. We have a cat that visits us every day; Lunar. He is actually a nice cat – if there is such a thing !!! He used to live here and when the previous tenants moved out, apparently he wanted to stay, so he moved in with the neighbours, but comes over here every day. He almost behaves like a dog and he and Kyah have a good play a few times each week. He is a lovely natured cat, likes to make himself at home. We also have a few currawongs that come into the house now. They obviously feel comfortable enough to walk into the house. Mind you, the birds don’t come in when Lunar is around. It’s entertaining if nothing else.

 

Kyah is dancing at church this Sunday. It is a low key dance, just her. We have a ‘Day of Prayer for Israel’ on Sunday and Kyah has been asked if she could dance just for one song as part of the entertainment and celebrations. She is such a blessing to watch when she dances, so those of us that know she is performing are all looking forward to it.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. NIV

 

 

Term Three Almost Done

The year is flying by. We are racing around every day, trying to fit everything into our busy schedules. We have to forego many offers of catch-ups and get-togethers, but both Kyah and I realise there is a means to an end for all this work, dedication and relinquishing of special times.

This term is the busiest one she has had so far; school commitments, assessments, assignments, her diploma, a dance performance night. Then add to that the dance commitments she has with Queensland Ballet; six days each week, her pilates for prehabilitation and strength enhancement three times each week, and the fortnightly physio appointment to ensure no bad habits creep in. We hardly see each other at the moment, with her schedule and mine, but sometimes that is not a bad thing when they are teenagers!!!! Did I just say that???

Kyah had a few Sunday dance commitments for school prep for their “2019 Night of Dance”. She was only in 2 dances for the night, but the planning and prep requires all dancers to be there for certain times. This way the teachers know all students are fully aware of what they are required to do, where they need to be and when. She enjoyed performing “A Chorus Line” and the “Finale”. She realised from last year that being in too many things added extra pressure on to her, and that is something she simply does not need at this point. Most of the year 11 Queensland Ballet kids only did the two dances, for this reason.

This is not a good photo but it’s the only one I have access to at the moment. The night ended up being quite a late finish, which was expected, but not really what she needed.

Kyah performed in “A Chorus Line” with the Year 11 dance class.

It was nice to see Kyah dance as I have not seen her perform for a while. Soon though…

Kyah’s school commitments have been huge this year. Her load, if she completes it all will have her graduate high school with 27 points. Even though she and I planned and sorted her subject selection carefully to ensure she had a relatively “easy” load, the school requirements have been such that she has had to undertake other subjects up to this point. It is now at the point where both Kyah and I know she needs to reduce her load by at least 4 points. 20 points are what is required to graduate. So I called a meeting with some school staff and thankfully, we have come up with a plan.  We are implementing a better program for her so she is not going along blindly with certain subjects, and she will be able to drop certain subjects once she has accumulated a specific number of points. Already it seems to be a much better option and program for Kyah because, this now gives her guidance and instruction on a regular basis, as well as an incentive to get her business diploma done, as this accumulates points with every module completed.

Just recently, Kyah had do to a practical dance assessment and then report on it. The assessment was quite a task, and involved filming of the dancers in a specific room. The issue Kyah faced was trying to coordinate the availability of the room, when she and the other dancer were both available, as well as having someone film the entire dance. It ended up far too hard to coordinate and have access to the room, so Kyah ended up using me as her dancer!!! So the initial choreography was altered dramatically to compensate for my lack of ability to look like a ballet dancer. We had a great laugh, mostly at my expense, but we finally got the job done. The story was told, and it was a very effective method of putting the story out there. We used our gym, so we just packed up half the room and made it look like a ballet room as best we could, then went for it. Kyah ended up getting a very good result for it. So, all in all, even though it was a very stressful time trying to get it done, it was very successful in the end. Thought I’d include this photo for those of you that want a bit of a laugh. Kyah is not even trying to look elegant, and I am!!! Note to self: stick with my vocation, and don’t expect a call up from and dance company any time soon. Haha.

Kyah has managed to have a bit of social time. Catching up with friends from school and ballet outside of both, but her main focus this term has been school and dance. Just trying to get all her work done and handed in on time.

I made her some “cookie dough flavoured” bliss balls for a relatively healthy snack, along with apple and cinnamon muffins and banana bread. All have been consumed pretty heartily. Kyah’s whole existence revolves around her dance; eating well, getting enough sleep, getting through her school work quickly and effectively, to ensure she has enough time to do all that is required for dance. This is a lifestyle she has adopted and will continue to do  for the length of time she wishes to pursue this avenue. It is almost 100% dedication, which she does not seem to mind at all.

These are pretty yum!!! Cookie dough flavoured.

We went and saw Bangarra Dance Theatre perform at QPAC. It was their 30th Anniversary Season. The performance was great. That was last Saturday night. The night was not too late, and Kyah was able to have a good sleep-in on the Sunday, so she was well prepared for this week of school and dance.

https://www.bangarra.com.au/

My dad has been unwell the last few months and this came to a climax two weeks ago. Both Kyah and I have been on edge a bit with that; as it is stressful when close  family and friends are unwell. We are believing for God’s will to be done in the situation and whatever that looks like, we know it will the best for all concerned.

Winter is just about over, but we had a couple of mornings recently with some beautiful heavy fog. It was just amazing to see. Kyah still got up and was ready and out the door by 6am. No complaints from her. She got some great shots of the city all fogged-up while she was travelling to dance. I was training people in this and it was just so serene.

 

Queensland Ballet are currently performing Romeo & Juliet at QPAC. I went to see them on Tuesday night; dress rehearsal night. Kyah made the decision not go to. Reason being: early in the week, so much school work on at the moment, and a very late night, hard to catch up on missed sleep at the moment. It was a wise decision. She did miss a good night though.

The ballet was absolutely beautiful. Lots to look at and enjoy, the story was told very well, costumes were great, music performed by Queensland Symphony Orchestra was wonderful, dancing was amazing. It is easy to see why Queensland Ballet are considered one of the best Ballet Companies in the world at the moment. I very much recommend you go to see this.

Link is here:

https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/2019/romeo-and-juliet?gclid=Cj0KCQjw753rBRCVARIsANe3o45LJLeekL6EqvR8TrE2AIcc4nb_ATrAfNKt6rXgvRDqwWH_VQ2qB_oaAr_2EALw_wcB

So we (mostly me!) are going through all our “stuff”. There’s 2 huge boxes of barbie things that we are currently preparing to sell. It is time to move on from the childhood and get rid of things we simply do not need any more. There are so many thing we accumulate over the years. Now it is time for us to get rid of what we don’t need. We are still renting in Brisbane and one day we hope to move into our own place, so the fewer things we have to move, the better. Culling can be very therapeutic and cleansing. It is that way so far for us.

The school holidays start September 20, 2019. There is so much to get done before that, so it is heads down and get it done. Kyah will also be doing her diploma through the holidays as well as dancing, but at least the intensity will be reduced a bit and she may not have the early mornings…

Queensland Ballet have their Academy Gala coming up, from October 18-20. I have had lots of people asking how to buy tickets to come and watch. It is a great performance to see if you want to see good quality dancers at not a huge cost. Obviously the dancers have started preparing for the Gala now, and will do so over the school holidays as well. I am looking forward to seeing Kyah perform. You never know what dances they are in until the actual performance time. But that is part of show business.

Here is the link to purchase tickets if you are interested.

https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/2019/queensland-ballet-academy-gala

2 Cor 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our AMEN to God for his glory. (ESV)

Moving Right Along

It will be August in a few days. Gosh the year is flying by. Kyah continues to get up at 4.50am, get herself ready for ballet and school, and is out of the house by 6am every weekday. Some mornings are harder than others, especially when it is cold. But thankfully it has not been a very cold winter – neither of us like the cold much.

We have done our share of cold temperatures. In 2013 we went to Canada in their winter and did all the winter activities – skiing / snow boarding both Whistler and Blackcomb, dog sledding, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, climbing glaciers, saw the Aurora Borealis. It was a fantastic holiday – the snow was over one metre high on the sides of the roads, the snow was freezing on the windscreen of the vehicle; the wipers didn’t work, so you had to stop the vehicle and gently hit the windscreen to break the ice so the wipers would work and you could see again. We had icicles on our eyelashes, all the lakes were totally frozen over, cars were sliding off the roads because of the ice. I could go on for ages about how different the life is over there to here, especially in winter. It was cold: we were aware the temperature at one point got down to minus 34 degrees celsius when we were there. Not sure why we don’t like the Brisbane winter mornings when they get down to 6 degrees, but we don’t.

We used to go to the snow every year. Kyah would ski and I would snow board. She started skiing when she was 2 years old, and she got to practice every year when we went . She became quite good at it. However, once she decided to take dance seriously, she had to make the decision to stop skiing. It is a risky sport for knees and other injuries and she cannot afford to get injured, so we really have not been to the snow since 2013. Oh the sacrifices we make! Not complaining … I do not cope well in the cold.

We have noticed the mornings are getting lighter earlier, so that makes getting up a bit easier. It won’t be long and spring will be here. If this winter is any indication of what a “Brisbane winter” is usually like, bring it on. It is quite pleasant. There have been a couple of quite cold mornings, but mostly it has been very manageable.

We have had one week with no students and it has been really nice. A bit of a rest and normality in the house has been good. By the end of this week, we will have two students for a month. That will keep us both busy and on our toes. It is always disruptive having strangers in your home, but usually the students are lovely and it is nice to welcome them into our country and help them get set up.

Kyah has been driving a fair bit. Most days she drives somewhere. So far she had proven to be a pretty good driver. Each time she drives I notice her confidence improves, which is great. Every now and then something happens and she realises she needs to stay totally focused and be aware of other drivers, and pedestrians  on the road. You know the “blind spot” – it is called a blind spot for a reason…. she learned that one when she was on the motorway!!! Learning to drive is a huge lesson, and  experience is the best teacher for us all. I am amazed at how aware of her surroundings she is; this awareness will really help her become more proficient at driving. There are some people driving on the roads totally oblivious to everyone else. I am glad Kyah will not be one of those people.

On August 9, the school has a “Night of Dance” showcase. Kyah, along with the other kids, have had to attend school on Sundays for rehearsals. Add this on to the already very-full schedule and you have a very busy, tired person. She missed this Sunday as we had a special day with some dear friends – we caught up with Kate and Misha first. Then we had lunch with a small group of lovely friends for Ruth’s birthday. It was a long day, but very worth it.

The restaurant we went to had very healthy options, so we were forced to eat well, which  shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. This salad was amazing. It was all greens with smashed avo and a lovely dressing.

Kyah has been doing pilates at least twice each week. She sees a physio at least once every three weeks, just to keep on top of things, and she has me constantly on her to ensure she is doing something constructive. It is a never ending  requirement that she look after herself. She eats well, goes to bed early, drinks lots of water, makes so many sacrifices to ensure she does not go backwards, or get run down. I assume every dancer is the same; if they want to be any good at what they do. Kyah does not complain about it, but does get tired… tired equals grumpy. There is a huge incentive for me to try to prevent her from getting tired!!!

Queensland Ballet Academy are currently preparing for the end of year gala performance. Usually all the dancers really look forward to this. Performing is why they practice. I also look forward to seeing Kyah dance. She is beautiful to watch. Then coming up after that will be the end of year exams and reports, along with notification as to whether they are asked back into QB or not.  Very soon this year will be over.

Kyah got her hair cut the other day. She got it cut as short as possible so she can still put it in a bun. Because her hair is so thick, it gets really heavy when it is long, then put long, thick, heavy hair into a bun – it can actually cause neck problems and headaches. So I am glad she has realised it is more appropriate for her to have short hair. For the time being, Kyah is enjoying the short hair. Again, it’s another sacrifice that she is making to accommodate her dream. There are so many sacrifices to be made on a daily basis. The life is very different compared  to other teenagers her age. No late nights, no going out on weekends, minimal socialising because of time constraints, constantly being mindful of what she is eating and drinking, being aware of physical activities that may cause pain or injury. The list goes on.

I have just ordered new pointe shoes for her. About a year ago, she found a pair of shoes that suit her feet and feel relatively comfortable – if pointe shoes can ever be described as comfortable! The only issue was that she was wearing out a pair of shoes every second week. This was costing me a small fortune. Thankfully Bloch do take special orders for shoes. We order the Synergy with an extra strong shank. Because you need to pay extra for special orders we order 8-10 pairs at a time. And, because Kyah’s feet have stopped growing, we are able to buy 4-5 pairs one size and the other 4-5 pairs a half size larger to fit her larger foot. When the order arrives we pair up her shoes to suit her and the sewing and darning begins. Apart from the fact I almost have to take out a small loan each time I place this large order,  the only real problem with this is ensuring the order is placed soon enough so Kyah is not without suitable pointe shoes.

We have managed to book a holiday for the end of the year.  Usually Kyah has dance workshops on through the holidays, so us going away is very difficult. This year I have managed to find a cruise for us to go on straight after Christmas. It’s over to New Zealand. Cruising some of the north island, but mostly the south island. Kyah has never been to the south island of NZ before. I am sure she will notice the striking difference between north and south islands. The timing of the cruise is perfect, the duration of the cruise is perfect; 10 nights, the onboard entertainment is perfect, the activities on the ship are amazing; indoor skydiving, rock climbing, dodgem cars, the highest viewing deck on an arm that moves out over the ship, gym, pilates, spin classes,  and the list goes on. It should be a great holiday.

I made some more protein balls. Something simple and quick to grab. Healthy and filling. Kyah also likes the chocolate mud cake muffins and the banana bread I made her this week … surprise, surprise!!!

Psa 112:1-2 Praise the LORD.

Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. 

Their children will be mighty in the the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

 

She’s driving!

Well, if it is at all possible, we have been more busy than ever.

The last few weeks have been holidays for Kyah. She pretty much had 2 weeks off ballet and 3 weeks off school. The way QB plan their later half of the year is that they do a 9 week term for term 2. The school term is 10 weeks, so most of the kids take the last week of term off school to ensure they actually get 2 full weeks off both school and dance. This is to help the dancers prepare for the gala performance they have in October and other requirements that need to be fitted in and scheduled appropriately for the end of year.

Kyah participated in Pilates classes most days in the holidays when she was at home. It’s really important for her to maintain her activity levels while she is off dance. If she doesn’t maintain activities, then when she gets back to normal routine, her body will be too sore and the program is so busy she just wouldn’t have time to catch up and recover from the muscle soreness. So prehab (injury prevention) is crucial.

She flew down south and spent a few days with her dad. She enjoyed the time away  from her usual routine … and me! Lazy walks along the beach, time with the dogs, she managed to catch up with just one of her friends from down there and spent a bit of time with her dad.

On Tuesday, she flew back with a friend of ours, Anne. Once they both arrived it was pretty much full on from the start until we dropped Anne to Kirra on the Sunday.

On the Wednesday, Anne and Kyah went to see Synergy. It’s a performance by the Pre-Professional and Jette Parker Young Artists Programs in Queensland Ballet. The performance  focuses on contemporary and neo-classical works.  It was at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. Both Kyah and Anne loved it. Kyah missed out on seeing it as part of the QB program, because we had tickets to see the Bolshoi Ballet the same night. So it was good that she got to see QB perform on another night.

Kyah got her results from QB for the first half of the year. She did extremely well and the three of us, (Kyah, Anne and I),  were so pleased with her results. As a token of her hard work – getting up every morning at 4.50am, catching two buses to dance every morning,  pilates classes 3+ times per week and everything else she does with no complaints at all, I bought her a beautiful Ted Baker back pack. I saw it on a fantastic sale (thank you TK Max), and knew she would love it. I think acknowledging her hard work and the great results with the present, is an incentive and an encouragement for her to continue.

 

My toblerone cocktail

Our drinks in the piano bar

Anne had organised a night at the new Emporium Hotel at Southbank. This was the final celebration for Kyah’s 16th birthday. It was a surprise for Kyah, and a lovely one at that. The hotel was absolutely amazing. I had to work so I left Kyah and Anne at the hotel for the afternoon. They had drinks in almost every bar and lounge in the hotel. Then I caught up with them for a cocktail (mocktail for Kyah) in the piano bar. The first photo above is of my Toblerone cocktail. It was delicious. Unfortunately, because I was driving I could only have one.

Then we had a lovely dinner there – we did room service and why wouldn’t you? Their room overlooked Southbank and Brisbane city. Kyah and Anne stayed overnight and just loved it. The facilities were simply divine. The two of them enjoyed the indulgence, even having a “pillow menu” to choose from.

Just one image that was in the elevators – every single panel – all four sides, top and bottom.

This was another image that was in the elevators. I did not see the same image twice in any elevator.

IMG_2196

On the Friday morning, Kyah and Anne walked down to the cultural centre precinct, from the hotel.Kyah participated in a masterclass conducted by the Bolshoi Ballet. She really enjoyed the experience. While Kyah was doing the masterclass, Anne went and saw the Margaret Olley and Ben Quilty exhibition at GOMA. Apparently the exhibition was fantastic. Something Kyah and I plan to see before the exhibition finishes.

That evening we went to see “Yank” The Musical. It was on at The Powerhouse Museum. Our friend Alex Gibson-Giorgio performed as Mitch Adams. It was a great production. Alex has such an amazing stage presence, you can even notice when he is not on the stage. He definitely has a huge future in musical theatre. Amazing voice, and great acting ability. He should go a long way, and we both hope he does

Kyah, Alex & Anne

The cast from Yank

It was really nice to see both Alex and his dad, Tony. It was a very momentous occasion, as it was the first performance Alex has done without his mum, Gayle, at the opening night. Unfortunately, Gayle was killed in an horrendous car accident back in March this year. I am sure she was looking down watching him and would have been so proud of him. I know we all were.

Tony & Alex

Saturday we spent  almost the entire day out; shopping and eating at James Street, New Farm. Something different for us, and it was lovely. Saturday night we had Theresa come over for dinner. It was a great evening had by all. Chatting, laughing, great food, good company …. what more could four girls want?

Sunday we drove down to the Gold Coast where Kyah and Anne did some more shopping at Robina, while I caught up with a friend. Then we dropped Anne at Nel’s place at Kirra.

Our time with Anne here was extremely busy – lots of great memories made, loads of food consumed, and lots of laughs. Needless to say, Kyah and I were in bed asleep rather early on the Sunday night.

Ballet has started back this week. One more week of school holidays so it is kind of an easy introduction back into the onslaught of term three. She was able to watch a performance by QB called The Little Green Road to Fairyland on Friday at QPAC. The performance is targeted at children and apparently it is great. If you have children and have time, it is definitely worth going to see.

Kyah got her L’s through the week. I have taken her for a few drives already. I notice each time her confidence is improving, as are her skills. It can be quite difficult to stay calm at times, but I am learning, and Kyah is listening well, and she is not doing too bad at all. She has done some driving and parking practice in large car parks with only a few cars, loose trolleys, pedestrians and trolley tractors around. She has also driven home on a rather busy road from one of the car parks. We got up early one morning and drove across to West End, before the bulk of the traffic started. She is definitely getting some hours up and her knowledge and experience is growing each time. I am exposing her to more distractions and challenging environments each time, and she is coping really well.

Yesterday,  Kyah caught up with her dear friend Ebony. Ebony has been in France dancing for the last 12 months. She is doing really well over there; she has been accepted back into their program for this coming 12 months, so she goes back over in 5 weeks. Hopefully Kyah and Ebony can spend some decent time together before she has to go back. It is lovely seeing Ebony doing so well with her dance career.  Ebony and Kyah have always got on well and it is so nice to see them reconnect each time they get an opportunity.

Well, it’s back to school and dance tomorrow. Kyah has a large dance assignment due this week for school. Hopefully she has done enough to get good marks. She has plodded along with her diploma through the holidays. Hopefully she can knock over a couple of modules this school term.

Isa 50:7  Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,  I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (NIV)