My Gran

My Gran (my Mum's Mum) is short...uh, vertically challenged. Her name is Maisy and she lives in Cranbourne, about 10 minutes away from where I live, with Grandad and their cat Bluey. She's nearly 80. She used to be a nurse and met Grandad when Grandad was injured after fighting in World War II. I think Gran was originally from country Victoria, and I know she lived in Gisborne and Kyneton, around the Macedon Ranges in western Victoria, when she was first married.

Gran is a very active and mobile person (she's been sick recently, but she's getting her strength back!) She has all her wits about her, cooks and cleans and does all the other things you'd expect from a retired woman. I've met people younger than Gran who I thought were older. Gran is just what I expect all 80-year-olds to be like.

For all that I do know about Gran, I also feel that I don't know her very well at all. Gran's been around for longer than I can remember, and possibly because of that I've never stopped to consider that I don't know much about her.

Here's what I do know about my Gran:

My Gran is talented. She made me my favorite teddy bear, Billy Blue Bear, and then re-covered him when I burnt Billy on the heater. She knitted me a rug out of Chicago Bulls colors when she found out that was my favorite team. She knitted me a big woolen jumper (that's too big, because I asked her to make it that way, despite her protests).

You don't want to get into a trivia contest with my Gran. She knows a lot. This has come from years of crosswords, I'm sure. And she can play cards pretty well too. How do I know? She's beaten me in the past, and I've never forgotten (I've never played her since, either).

Gran can cook. Her pickles are a coveted item in our house. Once a year she makes rum balls for the family Christmas. Whenever we need advice on cooking (like when Olivia and I cooked the Christmas Pudding last year), we ask Gran.

Gran is persistent. She's been married to my Grandad for more than 50 years. It takes real effort to stay together that long!

Gran has cancer. This one's the hard one. Gran was diagnosed last July and was put into treatment almost immediately. She's just finished a round of chemotherapy. Gran has a positive outlook and (as mentioned) she's very persistent and determined to keep fighting, with help from her supportive family. It has been a very different 12 months than all of us have ever experienced before. For me it's an interesting time and I think I'm still in denial, but that's nothing compared to what is facing Gran, and how she is handling it.

Love you Gran!

The New Computer Case

We bought our computer 2nd hand for a good price last November, but quickly found out that it ran very hot and sometimes crashed - mainly when we were playing games. Previously I'd installed 2 extra fans that reduced the problem, but didn't fix it completely. So, a new case, with a couple more fans, was in order.

Last weekend we picked up a new computer case, and we (Olivia, TJ, Maya and I) moved the bits from our current case into it. This is something that hadn't been done before in our household and I was probably a bit out of my comfort zone - but I was determined to give it a try, and had the time (and money to spend on the case) to do it.

Fortunately, the new case was really easy to install things into because no screws were required for the hard drive, CD drive or graphics card. Building the PC turned out to be a good family "project", and a couple of days later our computer was running much better (and amazingly, it actually ran at all!)

The new case means that the computer now runs 5 or 6 degrees cooler, and actually still runs without crashing at slightly higher temperatures. I can play my games, and so far it has only crashed once (when I was really working it, on a 30+ degree day).

The case is a big black Thermaltake Soprano Midi Tower and is very, very quiet. It comes with a 400W power supply and it will also accomodate different motherboards and processor chips so we have the ability to upgrade.

Our current computer specs are, for those interested:
 AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (runs at about 1.8Ghz)
 Gigabyte GA-7VT600 motherboard (onboard sound, RAID, LAN)
 512MB Kingmax DDR400 RAM
 80GB Western Digital Hard Drive (PATA)
 Gigabyte Radeon 9200 graphics card (fairly basic)
 Sony 8x DVD burner (single layer)
 Logitech "Freedom Pro" Wireless Mouse & Keyboard
 Vantech PCI fan card (to cool the graphics card)
From our old PC:
 Canon LBP-660 Laser Printer
 Average-quality speakers with sub-woofer
 No-name 17" monitor

This makes for a decent quality computer that can handle the occasional game or development work and frequent web browse, and to date we've spent just over $1000 on it, to replace our previous 5-year-old Pentium II that saw me through Uni.

The Quiet Observer

Just a quick note to say that lately I've been a blog reader, not a blog writer. I am still here, and I've been enjoying reading other's posts.

More from me another time (and time to twist Olivia's arm into writing something!)


Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Copyright Thomas & Olivia Williams 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009