Scully’s 5th birthday!

Today was the Big 5 for Scully! (Not the big 5-0, just the big 5 🤣) She got a wrapped gift from our neighbours, which she had fun tearing the paper off, revealing a… llamacorn. Yeah, a rainbow coloured llama-unicorn toy. She got into it and gave it a good chew so that was a hit.

I slept poorly during the night. The COVID has moved up to resemble a bad head cold, with blocked sinuses and dripping nose. I could lie on my back without my nose running, but I’m a side sleeper and don’t feel comfortable lying on my back and can’t fall asleep that way. But whenever I rolled into a comfortable positions on my side, my nose would start running within a few seconds and I had to jump out of bed, grab some tissues, and blow my nose. Rinse, repeat.

The annoying thing is I don’t feel especially sick – under the weather certainly, but not a complete mess – but I just can’t get a restful sleep. I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep since I first noticed symptoms on Wednesday. Today I didn’t have any more feverish spells or hot sweats, so I think things are on the mend. I’m hoping I can really conk out and sleep soundly tonight. My sinuses are still badly clogged, but hopefully not as runny as last night.

I decided to cancel ethics classes tomorrow, and also for Tuesday and Wednesday, because now I’ve cancelled more than half a week, so I figured I should just go ahead and cancel a full week’s worth, and shuffle my topics forward a week so none of the students actually miss out on any of the topics. I’m almost certain I won’t be able to go into the university tomorrow to teach Data Engineering there either.

New content today:

COVID day 4

Still feeling pretty miserable, though the symptoms are at least an ever-changing cavalcade of new sensations. Today I woke up with my sinuses and ears blocked. The throat doesn’t feel as gluggy, overtaken by sniffling, nose-blowing, and a general stuffy head. Again the morning was easier, but I developed feverish chills and aching muscles again in the late afternoon. Definitely not a pleasant disease, this.

Today was the New South Wales State election. Fortunately I’d gone up with my wife on Wednesday to a pre-polling station and cast my vote then, so I didn’t have to go do it today. We’ve had a conservative government here for the past 12 years, and looking at the very early results being counted as I type, it looks like a foregone conclusion that they’ll be voted out.

I took Scully for a short walk in the morning while my wife went out to pick up an item she’d ordered. She didn’t tell me about this until she got home with it: It’s a gift for Scully for her 5th birthday, which is tomorrow. It’s a new dog bed sewn out of some of my wife’s old clothes.

Scully and her 5th birthday gift

The idea is that her scent is all over it, so it’ll be familiar and comfortable for Scully to snuggle on.

Tonight we ordered some Indian food for dinner. We almost never order food delivered, but seeing as I can’t go out to a restaurant and didn’t feel too enthused about cooking myself, we decided it would be a good idea tonight.

New content today:

COVID day 3

Again my symptoms eased off overnight and I felt not too bad in the morning, but they’ve gotten worse again this evening. The main thing is alternating feverish chills with goosebumps and hot flushes with lots of sweating. My throat feels clogged with something like really thick phlegm. I’m coughing occasionally, but too badly, but it doesn’t help the clogged feeling much. I’m glad I don’t have a worse cough. Honestly, I’d rather have a fever than a persistent cough – I hate uncontrollable coughing.

Yesterday I’d cancelled all today’s ethics classes, and I’m glad I did. Teaching kids in this state would have been extremely mentally taxing. I took Scully for a walk a few times. I felt well enough to do that, making sure I didn’t go near anyone while outside. And apart from a little bit of comic writing, I’ve been relaxing and watching some TV.

I started watching the Netflix series Marianne, which is a French horror series. I have the English dub and the English subtitles on, since occasionally a train goes past and it becomes difficult to hear the dialogue for a few seconds. I’ve noticed that the English dialogue and the subtitles are wildly different. Not just a different word here and there, but whole different sentences. Sometimes the dub mentions something while the subtitles leave it out, and vice versa. And I noticed one occasion where the subtitles actually said the exact opposite of what the dialogue said. It’s actually somewhat entertaining to watch just to see the differences.

New content today:

Well, it finally happened

The night was pretty bad with my suspected flu. I was fevery and shivery for a few hours, than got hot. I’m not sure if I slept at all. By this morning I actually felt better. I did two ethics classes, hoping the worst was over. But it crept back over the course of the day.

I just did another COVID RAT test… and it’s positive. I’ve avoided it up until now. I was hoping my streak would continue, but it’s come to an end.

I cancelled tomorrow’s ethics classes, because if I feel like this tomorrow it’ll be a serious struggle.

New content today:

Sick for the first time in ages

Very short update today. I am feeling pretty miserable – feverish, sore throat, light-headed, a bit achey. I did a COVID RAT test and it’s clear, and I don’t have a cough, so I’m thinking it might be the flu.

This is the first time I’ve felt sick in the slightest since pre-COVID. It was a good run while it lasted. Going to get an early night and rest.

New content today:

Back to school day

Today was back to school day for most of the schools in New South Wales. The start of a new school year, kids going to school for the first time, kids moving up to high school for the first time. I did my 2.5k run this morning and passed many kids walking to school – a sight not seen since mid-December.

And it’s the first school year in seven years that I won’t be returning to teach Primary Ethics face-to-face with a classroom of kids. I mentioned my last class last year and why I’ve decided not to go back this year. I was still enjoying it, but wanted to get that weekly time back.

This evening I have three online classes, starting the new topic about Games. I had one student from last year returning after the school holidays. I said I hoped she had a good holiday, and she said, “Yes. I nearly died!”

I was… appropriately shocked and concerned and asked if she was okay. She said she’d been collecting shells on a beach with her family, and picked up a cone shell. I immediately gasped, as these are well-known deadly marine creatures. I asked if it actually stung her, but she said no, she managed to drop it before it got her with its sting. Phew!

In the third class, which was at 9pm, I had a new student who signed up last week. And then a few days ago I got a message asking about the time, which Outschool was informing them was 4am. They said they were in Texas, and I confirmed that the conversion was correct – the class would indeed be at 4am for them. I’m not sure how they managed to sign up for that, as Outschool should display times in local time for all users. The only thing I could think is that it showed “4am” and they misread and thought it was 4pm. Anyway, I offered to transfer the kid to a better time, but the mother replied that they were out that day and said they’d stick with the 4am class. I replied saying I’d be happy to refund the fee they’d paid if the time was inconvenient, and then next week we could work out a better time slot. She came back and said her son was super keen on the Games topic this week, and she was okay with him getting up at 4am for it… So, yeah, he showed up in the class at 4am Texas time! He was actually surprisingly awake and lucid.

In other news, I went to the dentist today. One of the fillings I had in December has been bothering me, giving the occasional sharp twinge when I chew food. I suspected the tooth might be cracked and need a crown. But the dentist said that he thought the filling was flexing. He decided to replace it with a different, former filling material and see how that goes. He used a quick anaesthetic which wore off after just a few minutes and was amazingly good, so that was good in that I didn’t have a numb face for the next several hours. Hopefully he’s right and it won’t hurt any more. Even better, he declined to charge me for the repair!

New content today:

Dentist day

Yes, today was a trip to the dentist. A regular clean and check-up. I mentioned an issue I’ve been having with food getting stuck between two molars, and the hygienist had a look and said, “Oh, yeah, one of your fillings is chipped.” The dentist had a look and said he’d have to fix the filling. So I’m booked to go back on Monday morning next week to have that done.

Before the appointment this morning I did a 2.5k run. And afterwards I took a walk with my wife and Scully to the Italian bakery, where I spoilt myself with a slice of their delicious ricotta cheesecake, as a reward for going to the dentist.

It was chilly today. The weather is truly bizarre at the moment. It should be hot in December, being summer here, but it was only 24°C in Sydney today, and it felt colder because of the wind. Tomorrow is forecast to be cooler and a lot windier. There’s been snow in the Snowy Mountains, which is extremely unusual at this time of year. There was a news story tonight saying this has been the coldest first two weeks of December ever recorded. And the next week’s forecast is 22°C almost every day, dropping to 21°C on Sunday. It’s really really weird. I wonder if it will warm up for Christmas. It really doesn’t feel like Christmas unless it’s approaching 40°C.

New content today:

Not so sick after all

After reporting yesterday that I seemed to be coming down with a nasty cold, today I felt absolutely fine! I downed an antihistamine tablet with breakfast, and my nose has been clear and problem-free all day. So I suspect yesterday was merely a severe bout of hay fever, brought on by the spring weather and the strong winds we had yesterday, blowing around pollen and other offensive bits of plants. I did a COVID antigen test to be sure, and it came up negative.

After a morning ethics class, I took a drive with Scully out to my favourite pie shop on the beach. We sat on a bench by the sand and watched the sea as I had my lunch.

Scully at Fisherman's Beach

Well, I watched the sea. Maybe Scully sat looking inland.

This afternoon I started to clean up some of my bookshelves. I want to get rid of some books to make space for newer acquisitions. I selected a handful of books and took them with me on Scully’s afternoon walk. There are a couple of community street libraries along one of our walking routes – the little boxes where people swap books. So I left a few in each of them. I didn’t take any out for myself – I do look in them as I walk past to see if there’s anything I want, but I’ve never actually found anything that I wanted to take. Anyway, hopefully someone will want the books I donated.

New content today:

A quick update… feeling sick??

This morning I did my face-to-face ethics class at the school – the second lesson of cause & effect and determinism. The kids seem to be enjoying the topic and it’s making them think, but today they were a bit chatty and many times erupted into talking over one another, rather than a nice orderly one-at-a-time speaking. This sort of thing always seems to happen when the weather is windy, as it has been for the past two days. Very windy indeed. All the teachers say the same thing – the kids get rowdier when the weather is windy, I wonder if there’s any real connection there.

Back home I did a 5k run. I wanted to get that out of the way for November on a relatively cool day, before it gets too hot.

This evening I had three online classes on this new topic of ageing. I started to feel a bit off this afternoon, with my nose running like a tap and frequent sneezing I’ve blown my nose through almost a whole box of tissues. I really feel like I’m coming down with a bad head cold. I’m not fevery or coughing, so hopefully it’s not COVID. I’ll keep an eye on it tomorrow.

Before I go, a couple of photos of birds I took in the last few days with my phone. An Australia brushturkey, sitting in a tree:

Australian brushturkey

And an Australian king-parrot. This is a juvenile, without any of the orange-red plumage of the adults. And yes, I’m as close as this looks – I got the phone to within about 30 cm of the parrot. These guys are pretty tame around here.

Juvenile Australian king-parrot

New content today:

Icing my back

Despite taking it easy last night and trying not to aggravate my twinged back, it stiffened up badly overnight. I made an appointment with my physiotherapist, at midday today. The guy I see is really good and loosens up my pelvic joints and realigns things so it feels a lot better. Then it’s just a matter of getting the inflammation down, which in the past has taken a few days. But today he mentioned that if I was an athlete I’d put an ice pack on it for 15 minutes, take it off for half an hour, and repeat that all day, and by tomorrow it’d be completely fine. I never realised I could do something like that! If it helps heal faster, I’m all over it!

So I’ve been icing my back on and off for much of the afternoon. And yeah, it feels a lot better already, so it seems to be working. I’ll see how it is after another night’s sleep.

The other main thing I did today was write up my lesson plan for the new online ethics topic of Food. I included stuff on dumpster diving for discarded food, food waste, healthy and unhealthy food, and some ethical questions about the impact of raising meat on the environment, and also the impact of shipping food around the world just so we can buy peaches in the middle of winter. One kid tonight had a very interesting idea about junk food, suggesting that people should get a maximum quota of junk food per month, “maybe two chocolate bars or something.”

Oh, and the rain is back again… It was very cold today, a maximum of only 13°C in Sydney, which is the second coldest day of the year so far. It’s supposed to be rainy for the whole week. We’re definitely approaching that all-time yearly rain record.

New content today: