Monday, March 21, 2016

Plasticity and Monkeys

Sheeeeesssssh it is hot in Canterbury, NZ today.

30+ degrees two or three days in a row. I just can't do this heat anymore.
I have no idea why. Getting older?? Brain fatigue?? Who knows??
It's just too hot to do anything at all, sadly.

Hey I've been reading about my favourite subject lately. 
Brain plasticity.
Got images of a brain able to be moulded?? Like plasticine??
 I did when I first learnt that word.

It is simply the brain's ability to develop, make connections and learn. 
Much easier when young but the brain's ability to do this remains forever! Amazing.

I am in particular very thankful for my own personal plasticity. 
It also helps me understand as I parent my three girls that a growth mindset is super important. Our brain can learn anything!!!

It seems that music allows us to use more of our brains at the same time. In MRIs our brain lights up like a Christmas tree on both hemispheres!!! Even simply listening to music will do this.
Imagine the lights inside a small child's brain!!!
So cool.

Some of the neurological readings are super heavy going and my own brain plasticity is stretched for sure. My eyes struggle with praranaud syndrome not being able to scan very efficiently. But it is really rewarding stuff.

Let's finish with some kid pics!
A annual pass to Willowbank is a brilliant idea for a family and photography student.

Willowbank Monkeys :-)

And our little monkeys!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Comedic duo

These photos are from 2015 that I really haven't shared properly with anyone.
Late Spring in the gardens one cool,crisp weekend.
I love their personalities.
So much fun to photograph.

Gee babies grow fast don't they!

Jaz x

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A belated Happy New Year to you all!!

This is my 2016 debut.

I jumped on here this morning, after being inspired by my eldest daughter. Caitlin had been rereading our previous posts from "Treacy Travels" as this blog was called many moons ago. 
(Acknowledgement to

I then changed to "The Treacy Family"as we were no longer travelling.

After chatting with Caitlin, I realised I missed blogging. Sharing my stuff with the world, small that world may be. I love sharing our comings and goings as our girls grow up and our pets get older.

This new year has me thinking.
Thinking abut a lot of things; turning 40, teaching, parenting, brain tumours, music and many other things.
Mid life crisis time or simple reflection, I have no idea. I do know that living well means constant reflection and questioning, and blogging helps me do this.

This morning I have been thinking about Music and our brains. Rereading my blog from 2011 I was reminded of the stages of my recovery from brain surgery. I have been continuously amazed at the healing power of the brain and its capacity to heal and relearn. Even if this is painfully slow.
I was remembering the parts that Mark had filled me in on as I had no recall of the very early days of recovery. 
After several small infarctions (strokes) had occurred during the operation, my brain was struggling to find words and speak to anyone.
But I could sing.
I sang to the ICU nurse or rehab nurse (somebody!?!?!) the tune and words of Twinkle Tinkle little star.

Now to me that is amazing! Totally cool! 
I was soon to discover as I became more alert and undertaking rehabilitation that numbers were a huge challenge, word endings were all confused when writing and I would spell words completely differently than I intended. My recall was completely mixed up and confused. Connections had been broken (temporarily). My elevator was not stopping at all floors it seemed.
I remember lots of tears.
English had been my top subject at high school.
And Music.

So despite half of my body not moving well, memory shattered and brain struggling it was my recall of music and lyrics that remained unhurt.

This is where my current interest in music and educating the brain has become so important to me. I survived an invasive 13 hour operation and then approx 48 unconscious and the part of my brain that holds onto melody, pattern and rhythm was the first to come back to my family.

This is where my research begins.
Will you follow my findings? I hope so.

photo is from


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