last update: Wednesday, October 10, 2001
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Three Months

Update - It's been a while!! (10th October, 2001)

Well, it has been over 2 years since I have done a personal update! Time is going way too fast these days!!

Due to the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 in NYC and Washington, I believe (as do many others) that the world changed that day in a way that means things will never quite be the same again. Our hearts break for all of those families who have been affected directly and indirectly by this tragic event.

Now to an apology :-) As many have noticed, (and some have even taken the time to email me) I haven't updated the site in a very long time. I apologise wholeheartedly, but do have a valid reason. I finished up my contract with network administration back in February 2000 which turned out to be very good timing. I had become increasingly tired and never seemed to have enough energy to do what I used too. A blood test revealed I was severly anaemic. Never underestimate anaemia or what it can do to you!! I had an idea what was causing the anaemia and tried to alleviate the symptoms with medication, but to no avail.

Finally, I June of this year I decided that I had no choice but to have major surgery which would result in me not being able to do much for a few months. I had a Hysterectomy in June and am still recovering well. Ironically, the worst part of recovering from this surgery is how easily you become tired!! However, that is supposed to only last up to six months, and apparently after a year I won't know myself. I can't wait!!!

Nick and I have recently celebrated 12 wonderful years of marriage and still love each other tobits :-) He is still travelling quite a bit for work, but again is still enjoying his work, which is a good thing. He is extremely good at what he does and luckily works for a company that like to acknowledge the time and effort he puts into his work. He is considered something of a guru in the industry especially when it comes to a couple of particular software applications.

The munchkin is now 10 and doing well. He is still a handful, and I am guessing always will be, but we keep plugging along and will never give up on trying to do the best we can for him. On reading back through these updates, I have realised that I never mentioned that Liam (aka munchkin) is on the "Autistic Spectrum" and is actually High Functioning Autistic (his diagnosis was suspected as early as 4 years of age, but really confirmed when he was 6). He is a very unusual little boy, with a brilliant mind and learning difficulties. He is one of these special needs children that doesn't exactly fit into one category and it actually dealing with quite a few 'co-morbidities' which means lots of other labels that go to make up our wonderful, unusual child. As you can imagine, this means a lot of frustration for him and of course for us, watching him struggle to cope with the challenges he faces.

We also got a kitten this time last year as a friend for Lucy, our darling Korat cat. MiNoi is also a Korat and they get along brilliantly. They are of the same breeding, but from different litters, so they are brother and sister. Mind you, they are totally different in personality, MiNoi is a lot more sooky, and Lucy is more highly strung. They are both a wonderful addition to our family and are lovely company for me when I am home during the day. They are both extremely intelligent and love being with their humans. When they aren't sleeping or eating, they love to play fetch or have little wrestling matches with each other, which is very funny to watch.

So, after many more changes in life, I am hoping to be able to dedicate a little more time to this web site, whilst working on a couple of other sites - one on the delightful Korat cat, and the other which will give more detailed info on day to day life with Liam and coping with Autism. There will be links from this site very soon.

Update - Even more changes!! (3rd July, 1999)

Not long after my last update, I was offered, and accepted, a great opportunity to take on administration of a computer network. This might also help explain why this site hasn't been updated for so long. Although my job is not full time, there is more than enough to keep me busy, not to mention learn a great deal. I am also delving into the wonderful world of database development as part of this job, which sounds horrible, but I am really enjoying it. So please be understanding if the site isn't updated as often as you would like :-)

We also finally jumped off the deep end and bought an apartment, and are now the proud owners of the "mortgage from hell". Well it seems like that when we consider the difference in real estate prices in Sydney, compared to our home town of Adelaide. With our lifestyle we are definitely apartment people, which is a good thing because the houses in this area are way out of our price range. We love it here though, and having a bus stop just out the front means a short 10 minute trip to work in the city.

The munchkin is now 8 years old!! He is growing up so quickly, which is another reason I was thrilled to find a job where my hours could be flexible and allow me to spend more time with him and be able to pick him up straight after school. Nick is still working very hard, and spends quite a bit of time travelling, but he loves his job which is the main thing. We have our 10th Wedding Anniversary coming up in a couple of months, and we still miss each other when he goes away. Yes, we can proudly say we are happily married. With all the changes we face, that the one thing we can count on is each other.

Nick has also been introduced to the fun of taking his car out onto a racetrack - and now there is no stopping him. Somehow I don't think I am going to have any problems convincing him to come along to some of the Honda Car Club events in future. It will be even better when he gets his car back next week after being without it for a few weeks. Unfortunately his car was parked out at the airport when the huge hailstorm hit Sydney in April and suffered quite a lot of damage. None of the glass was broken, but just about every panel had to be replaced because there were just so many dents!! Some of the hailstones were the size of baseballs - the dents they left were awesome!! We felt lucky though because he was still able to drive his car, unlike many others. We also didn't have to worry about our apartment being damaged - some of the houses that were hit still haven't had their roofs repaired and leak when it rains - these are the people I feel sad for.

So, our life just keeps hurtling along, which is good, as long as we remember to slow down occasionally and take some time out. Now, isn't that easier said than done....

Update - Things just keep on changing (17th November, 1998)

Well, in the eight months since the last update, many things have changed yet again! After two years of working at Apple, I made the decision to go out do the "independant thing" as a contractor. You may have noticed the stress mentioned in my last update, well it was relentless, and sadly nothing was being done to address it. It is interesting to observe that currently the same relentless stress is being experienced by the remaining staff, and it is still being ignored in the hope it will go away - for this alone I do not regret my decision. I do miss working with some wonderful people at Apple though! (You know who you are :-))

I was offered and accepted a two month contract with one of our major telecommunications companies, on their Desktop Training & Helpdesk. This was a very enjoyable two months, and I learnt a great deal about many different applications, and discovered how much I enjoyed passing on that knowledge to users in way that made it easy for them to understand. Since then I have done a couple of day stints either training and on occasion doing hardware repairs and upgrades.

At present I am looking for another contract, and have a few irons in the fire, so to speak. Meanwhile I have also taken up playing tennis, which to my surprise is very enjoyable! And yesterday I took my Honda Prelude onto the Wakefield Park Race Track again (haven't had a chance to do this for a while) and had a great time. Trying to get all those racing lines right and keeping your car on the track is quite a challenge. Mind you, when you do make a mistake, it gives you the chance to lose control of your car and then gain the control back in a fairly safe environment. I say fairly safe, although we have to wear helmets, and there is a First Aid Crew in attendance as the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports (CAMS) insist on these conditions.

So, the next time I update this I wonder where I will be working? I guess time will tell.....

Music I am currently listening to :

Neil Finn - Try Whistling This
Garbage - Volume 2
Sonia Dada - Sonia Dada
The Verve - Urban Hymns
Swing Out Sister - It's Better To Travel
Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up The Girl
The Eurogliders - The Best Of
Regurgitator - Unit
Marilyn Manson - Mechanical Animals
Bic Runga - Drive

Books I have read recently/am trying to read:

Why Men Don't Listen & Women Can't Read Maps - Alan & Barbara Pease
Accidental Empires - Robert X Cringley
Net Force - Tom Clancy & Steve Pieczenik
Windows NT 4.0 Workstation (yes, sadly have to get some cross platform knowledge)

Update - How life changes!! Part 2 (15th March, 1998)

I can't believe it has been 18 months since writing the previous update!! I turn 38 next month!!! **Gulp** It has been a bit of a blur! January '97 found Nick and I going to MacWorld in San Francisco, then onto Los Angeles for a week. We had a great time catching up with some old friends, and meeting some new ones. Unbeknown to us, when we planned the January trip, Nick had been awarded another trip (The Apple Golden Award (for two)) to Italy in May '97.

We started off by going to London for four days, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Then onto Florence for three days, and Venice for two days. Italy was magical - we loved every minute of it, and Apple sure know how to spoil their award recipients. We stayed at The Grand Hotel in Florence, and The Danieli in Venice - two superb hotels with incredible histories. Wandering around Florence and Venice was wonderful, I only wish we had more time to explore. We plan to go back one day, spend more time, and this time take the munchkin with us.

I am still working in Customer Relations at Apple, which is still a challenge, and definitely stressful. I also managed to do some training during 1997, and now am a Certified Apple Level 1 Technician. This means I am now qualified to pull Macs apart and repair them, although it is kind of like just qualifying for your driver's licence. I have the "licence", now just have to learn how to "drive". I really enjoy the troubleshooting aspect of my position, and having an understanding of how hardware works is a plus. Ultimately I would love to move into the Technical area, but meanwhile I will keep learning as much as I can. I am currently working on another qualification - Certified Apple Engineer. This will take a little longer, due to the amount of technical knowledge required - but that won't deter me at all.

Update - How life changes!! (12th October, 1996)

I started working part-time about four months ago, and have recently gone to full-time. I am working for Apple Computer now and I enjoy it immensely. My son is now at pre-school five days a week, and when I found an agency looking for people with Macintosh experience, I decided to take the plunge and jump back into the work force. Having been out of the work force for seven years, it was quite daunting.

After signing up at the Agency, it was a lovely surprise to find I would be working for Apple. Co-incedentally, my husband, Nick Hodge also works for Apple as a National Systems Engineer.

My job involves troubleshooting and trying to solve customers' problems in the Customer Relations Department. This has proved to be interesting, challenging, and a little stressful at times!

I guess the biggest change is trying to find spare time to work on this web site and answer my email. Please be patient, I am working on making the time!!

February 1996

Hmmmm. Well, I am Australian and live in the beautiful city of "Sydney". I am 35 years of age, I have been happily married to my husband for 6 years and have a son who is 4 years old - and a human dynamo. I am a stay-at-home-mum who discovered the internet about 18 months ago. My husband works in the computer industry and I figured this was a way to keep in touch with the developments in technology (as well as keep my sanity). I am a movie-buff and love movies of all types, from the Golden Oldies to the latest releases. I have no aspirations to get into the business although the production side definitely holds a fascination for me. I also drive a Honda Prelude and being a member of the Honda Car Club get to take my car onto a racetrack - yippeee! I love to drive!! I am not a petrolhead as such, I just enjoy the thrill of driving fast and in control!! Anyway, enough about me, that is not what this site is about.

And of course, there is the special "Thank you" Page!!!

Avril Hodge

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