it gets worse before it gets better

6 05 2012

With James’ & David’s help we’re making some progress on the front garden. The first thing we did was pull out all the Alyssum, reset the blue stones into the curves we want and dug some trenches. We also cut back the Ficifolia (Flowering Red Gum) that’s spread itself out over the front yard. We’ve also set out the iron rings which will act like planters and contain the bigger tress. I’ve treated the insides & bottom edge a little with anti rust, but they should rust up nicely on the outside. 

Iron rings

The other thing we’ve done is treat the ends of the timber that will make a wall between the iron rings and divide the garden from the driveway. Used something not quite creosote, but still black & sticky which should help make the timber last when buried in the ground. 

Treated timber

Next steps will be to cut and set the timber in the ground, and bolt a steel strap across the tops to hold them together and tie in with the rusty iron planters. Then maybe we’ll be able to start some planting. 



a fun, productive Saturday afternoon

23 02 2011

Last weekend I took apart an old, dead commando (Victa mower that is) and enjoyed getting dirty and learning about carburettors. This broken mower had been disposed of at a rubbish recycling depot and salvaged to be sold at their shop for $15. I was after a mower the same as an old one we have and thought it would be useful for parts. It still had compression when I pulled on the rope so thought it might be worth getting.

Victa commando

On getting it home it actually seemed in better nick (wheels & frame) than my other one, so thought I should have a go at cleaning it up and seeing if I could get it going. I thought I might see if there was an online manual for the mower so I’d be able to get it all back together if I pulled it apart. I actually found a couple of videos on youtube where a young fellow (geoff390) had recorded his attempts at dismantling and reassembling one of these mowers. Watching this helped me understand what would need doing to return the carburettor back to working condition.

So, pulling everything apart was easy enough, and I worked out what parts I’d need to get it back into working order. It seemed that things were a little clogged up with gunk so I needed to clean the parts in petrol and to find an air filter, an o ring, some fuel line, and a set of blades. A couple of hours later I had it all back together (thanks to John for the parts) and tentatively pulled the rope. It started first go! There was a metallic click from the blades as it was running though, and I discovered I’d put the platter & blades on upside-down (a Murphy’s Law design problem) but fixed that easily enough. After parts, I now have a $31 mower that’ll go for a few years yet…

A wonderful (and successful) learning experience that’s got me thinking about purpose, intention, & passion in education. I’ll blog somewhere else about that…



chores, the essence & necessity of life as I know it…

31 07 2010

Well, there we go again. Just when I thought I’d had an afternoon off to catch up on some of my own plans, the sewerage gets blocked. Like, and properly. It needs un-blocking because it won’t take any more water etc. No flushing toilets, no washing etc.etc. …and we’ve got people coming over tomorrow.

Dang! After spending the morning on jobbies, I wasn’t in the mood to have to deal with this development. Anyway, had a think about and we rang a friend who said he’d unblocked a few and had a grubber thingy. So, grubber thing came round but it still took three hours to get it sorted. Very thankful that there’s now some flow, and that we didn’t have to get the (expensive) plumber out… Now to get some copper sulphate to send down the pipes to kill the roots…

I don’t mind chores as there is some satisfaction in getting them done and I’ve realised long ago that life is a chore. Things have a changes since centuries ago and the types of chores we do have changed. Even though life in some sense has become easier, there are still things to do, get organised, ticked off the list. The jobs may be different but they are a part of getting on with it. They are a part of living and making an existence, we need to move, otherwise we’ll die. So, next time there’s a list of things to do, I’ll just plunge in and tick them off, one at a time.



more farewells and glad to have been able to help…

26 05 2010

After finishing The West Wing last week, I’ve also finished something else…

Tonight I finished a three and a half year commitment and service in a volunteer capacity. I’m glad I’ve been able to make a contribution and make a small difference to the community I’m part of. Kind words were said (and appreciated) and I hope that work can continue in the vein that it has been commenced.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but then that can be expected in a community consisting of individuals. I’ve learnt a lot about leadership, communication and common vision & goals. So, while some frustrating times, it’s generally been fulfilling work and there is some sadness in walking away. but, it’s got to be done, others will fill the breach and the work will go on. I’m looking forward to a more hands-off role mentoring other to step up. As Benjamin Zander suggests – “What contribution can you make?“

Thank you for the opportunity to make mine…



it’s been a big year, and it’s made me tired

26 11 2009

The end of the year is coming up quickly and I’m feeling tired. It’s been a busy year and I hope to spend some time reflecting on what’s transpired and what’s been achieved during 2009 (but that’s for an/other post/s).

The ‘tired’ I feel is a compilation of a number of things. There is some physical tiredness (due to late nights) but mostly it’s other types. I’m not sure if all of these are legitimately different, but let me give it a go…

There’s something about mental tiredness – I need some intellectual stimulation. I’ve had plenty of that recently at conference and in discussion with colleagues, but I feel I need a project that will involve some sustained cognitive load. Some more research next year maybe? But first I need to find a question that I want to find the answer too. Anyway, the idea is that I do some reading, thinking, & writing with purpose…

Then there’s a type of emotional tiredness – where I don’t have much more energy to feel empathetic. So, I need a break from caring (too much) about other people and other things. Life brings all sorts of challenges into our spheres of work and home life. I’ve been very busy with a leadership role and find that others can be needy and require support and encouragement. My bucket may be nearly empty, so I need to stop emptying it and find some resources to fill it with…

And what about psychological tiredness – when you don’t feel capable and have some self-doubt. Being up front and getting knocked down of challenged is tough on the pysche. While I feel I’ve been able to make a contribution as leader, I’d appreciate some respite and a time to allow my confidence to recover. Time for some R & R.

Could I also suggest a spiritual tiredness – where your soul needs some rest, renewal & replenishment. How to lift you spirits, how to feed your soul? Attention from others can help and feeding yourself with appropriate meditation, reading, and listening. A faith can also support your spiritual being, so take time to dwell on that, and seek your strength in that higher power… (King David wrote some good stuff in the Psalms).

All these may be closely related and I’m sure they are all linked in some way to each other and we need to make sure look after ourselves. So, this brings me to the point of my levels of fitness, how am I exercising the appropriate parts of my being to ensure I can cope with the stresses and demands of life? What things do I need to do to ensure that my whole being is fit and ready to deal with each day?

So, over the next couple of months I’ll be paying attention to my tiredness and may just write more about how that’s working out. Are you aware of your needs? Have a think about the renewal and replenishment you might need.



another week

28 07 2008

It has been a while dear reader, no excuses will be entertained, so it’s on with some writing…

Monday morning, cool and overcast. We’ve had a some rain earlier and it was nice to wake to the sound of it on the roof. I imagined (just for a moment) what it might be like sitting/lying in a tent, listening to the same thing…

Well, It will be August in a couple of days and I can’t believe it! Where has this year gone? It’s been busy that’s for sure. The family are all doing their own thing both study/ work wise, and we all seem to be fulfilled in that. I’m now 6 months into my new job and still learning stuff. That’s a good thing and my knowledge base has grown considerably. Focussing more on the academic side of things has been stimulating and the operational stuff keeps me grounded in the day to day practicalities of working with/in the system. I’ve been reading a bit and discovering new technologies (social media/networks) that will lend affordances to what we do as educators. Just have to work out how we might implement some of them in an institution that is fairly strong on standardisation and locking things down. So, I don’t mind going in to work every day which can only be a good thing.

So as well as work, there’s been plenty of church stuff to keep me busy along with a few things on telly sports-wise. The Cats are going great guns, the Wallabies are winning, Cadel did well in Le Tour and there’s a small break till the Olympics. I’m also enjoying Deadwood (TV series by HBO that screened a couple of year ago – but not in Oz) that I watch an episode of when I’m on the exercise bike. That (the exercise) and changing some eating habits has helped my to lose a few kgs and I’m happy that I’m keeping fit. Annual check-up recently confirms I’m a healthy specimen.

So, now it’s off to work (just as the sun is breaking through – just love that sunshine) and knocking over a few more jobbies and keeping the customers happy.



11pm again

14 05 2008

Another late night and squeezing in a blog post…

So far another busy week and not a real lot of time for myself. The evening meetings take it out of me – they’re worth participating in, but don’t add a lot of value to my life – I just hope that I’m making some sort of contribution and others are receiving a benefit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m committed, but at times I see/feel that there’s a waste of time and lack of efficiency in proceedings and that effects how much time there’s left over for me to get on with other things…

Had a busy day today – getting picked up at 8:15 to travel to Burwood, six meetings with people and no time to check/keep up with emails (that’s for tomorrow) and then home again at 5:30 and out the door at 7:00 and home at 10:00 ish. Phew! A nice single malt to help me relax…

So, life’s busy and rewarding – I’m feeling energised by what I’m being able to accomplish and contribute, but have a long list of other things I want to do. I might just need to sit down (with a critical friend) and set some priorities… I reckon I should be happy I’ve got something to do. As William McInnes suggests, A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby.

So, even though it’s late and I’m fading fast, I just wanted to say that life is good. Celebrate it continuously and always try to find out how you can make a contribution, ‘pay it forward’ I suppose. The investment will pay off.

Tomorrow’s another day – use it wisely.



8 days a week

10 05 2008

oh, I wish…

It’s been a bit crazy lately with professional, home and church life getting a bit hectic. There seems to be something to do every night and I just want to put my feet up and relax a little. I’m getting tired of always having something to do. I could probably deal with it all a little better if I quarantined things a bit more, but I seem to be very aware of what still needs to be done. I don’t mind being busy but I often feel as if I can’t come up for air. So, the idea of an extra day to chill, or use it to spread the load, sounds good. Or, maybe I just need to work on my priorities a bit, or ask others to do a bit more.

Anyway, after a busy day I’m starting to kick back a little tonight. Writing this post and waiting for the footy to start. Might indulge in a single malt later and hope that the game is good. (The Aussies did give the Kiwis a hiding in the Centenary Test (rugby league ) last night – but I didn’t get to watch much…)

Mother’s Day tomorrow and managed to get things organised, so we’ll make sure Wendy has a good day. It’s nearly four years since mum died and we’ll miss her. To all you fantastic women out there who have brought children into the world, have a great day – I salute you!



it starts again…

27 04 2008

Sunday evening and the work cycle starts again tomorrow. Nothing wrong with that, it just means the weekend is over and whatever I didn’t get round to doing will need to wait till the next one. It was a hectic week at work last week and I’m looking forward to catching up on a few things this week.

We headed down to Cape Otway on Friday and cruised though Apollo Bay with stopping for the Music Festival, well we did grab a coffee and muffin and shopped for some vitals. Caught up with some friends for lunch and then did the walk down to the Parker and round Point Franklin. I’ve never seen the sea so calm but it was very high so the rock scramble was tricky in between the waves.

On Saturday it was into Apollo Bay but straight through and up to Marriner’s Falls. There were some signs up at the car park to say the track was closed due to storm damage but that didn’t stop us (and a whole lot of other people). It wasn’t that bad, but there were a few trees across the track and you could see that it had been up a meter or two when it rained heavily a couple of months ago. Anyway, it’s a beautiful walk and lots of nice things to look at if you take the time. The falls are part of the Barham River which flows past the caravan park at Apollo bay and out to the ocean.

mushrooms.jpg barham-river.jpg

We stopped for a picnic in Paradise on the way out and enjoyed the company of three Kookaburras who (unfortunately they probably thought – but for their own benefit) missed out on some lunch. It was drizzling a bit (probably meant that we had it on our own people-wise), but not enough to stop us enjoying a very beautiful place.

Nothing like some fresh air and the sound of running water to refresh the spirit.



going pro

17 04 2008

I have taken the plunge and begun another blog called Learner Bytes! Not sure what I’ve got myself in for, but I’ve seen that others can manage to keep a couple of blogs going so I’m giving it a whirl.

The idea is that this blog remains a more personal one and the other becomes a professional blog. Not in the sense that I want to make money out of it, but more that I can write about my professional life. I wanted to keep the two separate and also be able to ‘build’ a presence online with regard to the things I do at work and what I’m interested in. I suppose I’m intending it to be come a kind of e-portfolio, demonstrating what I’ve done, what I’m involved in, what I’m thinking about, and making connections to other worthy people, ideas and technology.