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Friday, June 24, 2005

Friday arvo wrap up

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I'm off to Perth for Country Week tomorrow so not sure how much chance I'll have to blog while I'm away, very little I suspect.
Phat Phriday Phour has just phinished, the highlights being Buttered Butternut pumpkins being hurled in the general direction of half a dozen eggs on a tarp, just one winner this week, and the very phunny "Blow up a surgical glove over your head with your nose" contest. I know most families have tried this but it still went off as the pictures to come show! I chased round Busso looking for posts to erect a fenced area and it worked, sort of! It worked until the kids realised they could pull the plastic posts out and move them forward! I guess the good side is there were lots of kids and they wanted to be close to the action!!
We had a good Synoptic meeting this morning and debriefed Friday night's XTOL, giving me an opportunity to express my concerns/frustrations with the speaker/speaking part of the night. The irony is that it's the bit we (Christian youthworkers/chaplains etc) most want to work yet often don't do well!!
It was good to talk about it and continue thinking about how to improve and do better in future.
We won volleyball last night, PTL!! That eased some of my frustration from the last couple of weeks. Sadly we won't play again for a month, Country Week next week, then two weeks break during the school holidays, and then a bye the first week back! By Tuesday or Wednesday each week I'm really looking forward to Thurs. night's game so a whole month will be like going cold turkey!
I've got a lot to do before heading off to Perth tomorrow arvo, including the boy's soccer games in the morning. Jordy has been sick all week so he probably won't be playing.
Tomorrow night my old mate Alex Leitch is playing his 500th gig at The Wanneroo Hotel, quite an achievement in the music business. He has become a fixture and a feature of the pub, he knows customers by name, plays requests for their kids and has a real heart for the people at the pub. In many respects it's like a ministry and many times he has offered pastoral care and friendship well beyond the scope and role of the average muso.
He's got a big crowd coming to the gig and I'm hoping to have a couple of T-shirts made up to recognise his achievement. Al has been a great and loyal friend to me and my family over many years, and has a real soft spot for Carolyn and our kids. He and Zach are very close. He has an on-going battle with depression which makes life tough for him. Funny how the creative and gifted people in the world so often suffer mental health problems.
I hope Al has a great night on Saturday, he deserves it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Soccer training revisited

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Thursday arvo, soccer training and it's not raining! Looking forward to another good session combined with the 9's.
Only one day left at school for the term, on Saturday I head to Perth for Country Week, coaching the school soccer team in the annual country school's sports carnival. It's a highlight on the school calendar and I'm looking forward to a good week and with a little luckl the team should do well. In between soccer games there'll be nights out in Perth and supporting other teams and enjoying the big city from a country kid's perspective.
Sophie is going too, playing volleyball.
You won't believe this but it's just started pouring rain since I started blogging!!!!!!!!
It's been fine all day till now!!!
I've got volleyball tonight and I'm desperate for a win after two very disappointing draws in the last two weeks, but with two of our best players away it doesn't fill me with optimism!
Time to go and get wet!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy Birthday to me

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I am 44 today! I'll reflect more on this milestone and it's relative place in history later but for the time being this is a quick recap of my day. I spent about 7 hours of it on a bus to and from Perth with a group of 27 drama students and two staff. Between the two trips we went to a musical production called "Back to the 80's" put on by students at Gosnells SHS. It wasn't a great show, musicals are pretty challenging and several of the kids weren't strong singers, but the story was fun and the kids gave it their best shot. There were 27 songs from the 80's, a few classics and a few duds. Brief food/drink/toilet stops in Mandurah on the way up and the way back broke up the trip. We got back an hour late, leaving me just 10 minutes to wolf down some dinner and fly out the door to my YouthCare council meeting. Thankfully it was just round the corner because the non-arrival of anyone else aroused my suspicions and they were subsequently confirmed that I had got the date wrong and was a week early. (On the bright side, it is not often I'm early for anything!) So now I'm back home, blogging briefly while we wait for a radio player to download so that we can listen to Zac on the net. He is doing a Fusion radio show from Tasmania tonight on www.heartfm.org so we're hoping to tune in.
Then Carolyn and I will go out to Noel and steph's Bible study for the first time. We tried last week but they were away in Perth. There have been a lot of missed times/dates lately, perhaps a sign that my 44 years are catching up with me!! I hope not!!
A highlight was the air-fired cracker I bought at a 2 buck shop in Mandurah which went off with a bang and showered streamers and confetti all over the living room floor much to the family's surprise.
Happy Birthday to me Happy Birthday to me Happy Birthday ......

Monday, June 20, 2005

Day out at the footy

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The only thing worse than being a Geelong fan is being a Dockers fan! The Cats have often disappointed but their inconsistency is infant-like compared with the woeful under-achievement of the Dockers. I took Paul to Perth yesterday because I had a couple of free tickets to the Freo V Kangaroos game and he loves footy. It was a hop step and jump trip, we drove to Bunbury and left the car at the train station, got a lift to Rockingham with Laurie who was going up for an operation on his hand to repair a damaged tendon, the result of putting his hand through a window while pushing a caravan at Cameron's place, then took the Transperth bus direct to Subiaco for the game. After the game we caught the train to the city then the Australind to Bunbury before driving back to Busso! Paulie had a great time and was very chirpy all the way, only falling asleep 10 minutes before we got home!
Sadly the game was the only disappointment due to the pitiful performance by Fremantle in a must-win game. They are very very ordinary and I cannot see them making the finals this season.

Trip to Collie

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I've just gotten back from a day out at Collie and Bunbury, a nice break from the routine school day.
I went to Collie to preview a drama presentation called "Verbal Combat" by a group called Brainstorm Productions. Two actors played four characters in a school setting on the topic of bullying. Unfortunately we arrived a little late and only saw the second half 0odf the show but what we saw was enough to convince me we should have them at Busselton. We were due to have them last week but a mix-up and lack of venues on the day meant we had to cancel but they'll be back next year and we'll book early and avoid the hassles. As I was driving to Bunbury I rang dave Cunniffe, the chaplain at Newton Moore and a good bloke and asked him if he wanted to join me. He too welcomed a few hours out of the school and we had a good trip, discussing work, teenagers, family, plans and the coming term break, all of which helped take Dave's mind off the speed I was driving trying to get to Collie on time. As it turned out the show started early and we missed half anyway!
We stopped for toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches at Dave's place on the way back where I met his wife Nicole for the first time. After I dropped him off I headed for the shops in Bunbury to look for a couple of things not available in Busselton and as I was standing in the checkout line I bumped into an old friend Mandy Roberts from Thornlie Church of Christ days. She lives in Bunbury now with her five kids. Sadly her marriage to Dave (Roberts) ended last year. It was great to see her and we swapped details so we can all catch up, she was keen to hear news of Carolyn and the kids.
Having checked my emails I'm heading home to paint the feature wall in the study so I can bring the filing cabinet in.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The last move

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10.20 Saturday night and I'm just about to head out to the Cook's polace to pick up the last of our gear and the move part of our move will be complete. Just a few chairs and boxes to go. The real job starts then, trying to get rid of stuff we don't want or need, and defining that difference is the biggest challenge of all. We have a tiny shed and very little storage space so there's no other option than to get rid of stuff. That's what I want to do so I'm not struggling with the will to do it, just the process, the sorting, the deciding etc. I'm looking forward to putting the garage sale signs out in a week or two.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Flying Fish

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It's Friday afternoon, the kids have gone home, the school is quiet and I'm enjoying the peace opportunity to do some last minute blogging before the weekend.
Phat Phriday was great today with the highlight undoubtedly being the Fish Fling Mullet Toss, especially the moment when Mason splashed it (a 1 kg deep sea Mullet) down on top of the cream sponge 15 metres away to the roars of approval from the 200 odd kids who'd gathered to watch the fun. Mind you, the not-so-accidental throw of the gut-oozing mullet into the suddenly fleeing crowd by one of the yr 12 boys was a close second on the highlight table. After the flying fish came "Milking the saw-horse udder" a rubber glove filled with choc milk dangling from a work bench. The kids emerged flooded with choc milk while Rod just laughed the whole way through.
Next came the Coke chug, an old standard game, with a twist, the Coke had to be drunk through a sock, which the boys and I kindly supplied once we'd taken them off. Funny how kids won't eat their vegies but will fight one another for the privilege of drinking room temperature Coke through a used sock!
The session finished on a high with a game of Amoeba, 25 kids holding hands in a circle trying to avoid being dragged into contact with the chair in the middle. The players ranged from the school captain and the school's resident Gothic through to a couple of year 8 girls and the young bloke I wrote about in my post "Broken Heart" a couple of days ago. The last man standing earnt a bag of Picnic bars but everyone had fun so you know, "they were all winners"!!!
Phat Phriday made the front page of the local paper this week with a further half page spread of pictures inside and we've had lots of positive comments from staff and kids.
XTOL is on tonight so we're keen to see how many kids come along as a result of the PR we've been doing at Phat Phriday. We're giving away a mini ipod which is a fair hook. The fun and entertainment are good value in themselves, but they are only part of the whole plan, to give kids a chance to hear about God in a user-friendly environment. The test of our effectiveness will be in their response tonight.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Not looking forward to this

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I'm five minutes away from my least favourite time of the week, training Paul's 8's and under soccer team. I enjoy the games, but training is a nightmare. They don't focus or listen or follow instructions, because "collectively they have the concentration span of a flea" (excerpt from our family newsletter and worth quoting because of it's startling accuracy)
I should be there now but I'm putting it off as long as I can. Of course it's raining again so they'll be running round getting wet and I'll be cold uncomfortable and frustrated! They better get me a nice present at the end of the season!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Broken heart

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What's wrong with people? What's wrong with kids? I had a heart breaking experience this afternoon, a little kid in year 8 was brought to my office in tears. What made him so sad? Kids picking on him. Kids being cruel. Kids being bullies. Kids with no idea how much pain they cause by their teasing, name calling, picking on and unnecessary behaviour. He's a nice kid, inoffensive, small, no obvious reason why anyone would give him a hard time, but unfortunately somewhere along the way he was labelled "target" by someone and now his life is miserable.
Each time he fought back the tears and tried to compose himself another wave of sadness washed over him. "Nothing ever goes right, it's too hard, it hurts too much, why can't something just go right?" I wanted to wrap him up in a hug and tell him someone cares about him but of course that's not acceptable! Bullies can get away with their destructive behaviour but carers are prevented from reaching out to kids in need, it's a sad reflection of the modern world. I silently prayed for him as I listened to his sad story and tried to find out what good things he has going on, if he has any friends, what is OK in his world. Thankfully there are a couple of friends, but sometimes you need more than that to get you through. He needs some help and some protection. I'll work on that, in the meantime I gave him some chocolate to cheer him up and walked with him to his pick up spot after school to keep an eye out for a particular bully he was afraid would be looking for him.
I ask again what's wrong with people that they are so cruel, uncaring and insensitive that they make a game or a pasttime out of making other people unhappy? For all the good in the world and all the good people trying to make a difference, there is something very dark in the heart of man and we see it expressed through pain and destruction at every level.
"I have come to give peace, not as the world gives" was one of the things Jesus said. The contrast is pretty stark at times like this, there are two ways to live, one that cares and gives and loves and respects and reaches out and builds up and supports and encourages. And one that destroys. God help me to be one of the first type.

Monday, June 13, 2005

What makes a weekend great?

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Of course the weekend is always much better when Geelong win, which they did by 4 points in a thriller against Adelaide on Sunday arvo. It was a Foxtel only game so I went to the Dunsborough pub to watch it and took Paul with me for the first time. He sat on the bar stool the whole game except for the last 10 minutes when he sat on my lap and we held our breath as the Crows threatened to pinch the game. But the Cats held on and we hugged and bounced and celebrated. Paul was so excited that on the way home in the car he said "it feels like the game is still going on in my head!" The bad news is that Playfair & Enright picked up serious injuries and will 4-5 games each!! (If you say Playfair Enright quickly it describes how football should be! just a little pun to amuse you Dad) The rain continues in Busselton so no more loads of gear were picked up but Carolyn and I did score a bargain at Makro, two 12 hutch bookshelves for $49 each (almost as good as ebay Rachel) which I then spent the night assembling with an Allen key. One in the study and the other in the front room which will have a sewing area for Carolyn and a second lounge (parent's retreat!) once all the boxes/photo frames/assorted paraphernalia (sp?) find permanent homes (I have a hunch you'll be doing a grammar check on that last sentence Phil)
Our other score on the weekend was convincing the bloke from Hardly Normal to give us a bracket to hang the clothes dryer, the original having been lost/thrown out/packed before the move from Perth last year. I successfully hung the dryer above the sink in the laundry where it presents a hazard even to the diminutive Carolyn but at least it freed some floor space for the laundry cupboard. It was good to get some practice drilling holes seeing as I've got lots of family photos I want to hang! We're not in a hurry but the house is starting to take a little bit of shape. I'm about to head home to unpack another couple of boxes in fact.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hooray for the weekend

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I love the weekend, especially coz it feels like it starts around Friday lunchtime.
Hopefully the wild weather will break long enough for us to pick up another load of gear from the storage unit, just so we can add to the collection of boxes and furniture surrounding the house! There is a garage sale coming, I can feel it in my bones.
We'll try and paint the last 2 bedrooms over the weekend, and maybe even get some feature walls done, maybe!
Paul has soccer at lunchtime tomorrow, Jordy has a bye so he's staying at a friend's place for the weekend. If I get time I'll take him to see Star Wars on Sunday arvo. Hopefully by then the Cats will have emerged from the dark side and got back on the winner's list against the crows though I'm not confident. (I'm a Geelong fan so that last comment was superflous!)
Mum and Walter are coming over to visit this arvo for their first proper look at the new house. I'll give them a load of firewood to take home now that we have a gas heater. Walter hasn't been very well of late, his back is very troublesome so cutting and collecting his own firewood has not been possible.
Phat Phriday went OK today, not as speccie as last week but still good, I even managed to hook up the PA by myself and get both music and a roaming mic working, I felt very proud!
Volleyball was a half glass experience last night. We lost the first set to the Smurfettes, who as the name suggests are all female smurfs, won the second, got in front in the decider then let our lead slip and were lucky to hold on for a draw, only time denied a result either way. My knee is still sore so no footy training tonight. My finger is still sore too come to think of it, and my ingrown toenail is bothering me and ...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Did I mention the pelmets?! Posted by Hello

We bought the house while Mum and Walter were overseas and I really got her confused and agitated when I emailed to say we were moving to Bridgetown! Posted by Hello

The house was built as a display home so there are a few extra features we wouldn't normally have got, such as this stained glass window in the entrance way, raised ceilings in the front living room, ducted air conditioning, and better lighting than the standard bayonet globe stuck out of the ceiling. Posted by Hello

This is our new home in Busselton. Lots of trees and plants, we've been here for 4 days and none of them have died yet. There is a channel across the rosd so we will always have a bush aspect , but some risk of flodds. With that in mind the shire are about to commence work on flood prevention work in the area. I know this because they sent me a registered letter informing me of their plans, presuming I guess that I'd be interested. Posted by Hello

Commonwealth Games update

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The long awaited letter from Melbourne 2006 arrived a couple of days ago informing me how we went in the ballot for tickets to the Commonwealth games. The news was not great! We (the school) applied for $6900 worth of tickets and only got $3080 worth. We missed out on all but one daytime swimming session and all but one cycling session. We did get tickets to 9 sessions in total including athletics, basketball, hockey, table tennis and Rugby 7's. Even my back up team who applied for tickets on our behalf missed out. We'll still be going to the games but at this stage our program is not as busy or exciting as I'd hoped. We missed out on the opening ceremony too by the way. There is one glimmer of hope, there will be a further release of tickets with first preference given to those people who entered the ballot. We will try and pick up some more tickets to other events that way. The girls on the trip will probably be happy to have some extra shopping time so it's not all bad news!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rain delay

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The last day of our move was thwarted by the rain which didn't stop all day and would have made a mess of things in the back of the truck. I unpacked a few boxes and did some maintenance stuff round the house, towel rails, phone plugs, light globes etc. I wasn't able to get any sort of brackets or device to mount the clothes dryer on the wall as it is devoid of holes, slots or any other obvious means of attaching it to anything so the small laundry is still cluttered at this stage. The white carpet is proving to be the challenge we anticipated, one of the kids spilt his soup on it yesterday and the plastic runners are constantly needing readjustment. Not much we can do about it at the moment. Carolyn is looking for a suitable rug to go under the dining table at least. Jordan rode his bike to school and Sophie walked this morning, the benefits are impacting already.
I was able to slip home twice today, once to pick up a CD Sophie needed for her oral presentation and then to sign for our new dishwasher, delivered by hardly Normal. Funny how no-one said anything at the time we bought it about needing a plumber and an electrician in order to install it! Also picked up the new gas heater which is very welcome as Winter has arrived in Busselton. Time to go and do some more unpacking!

Monday, June 06, 2005

95 and falling

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Yes you read it correctly! When I stepped on the scales last night I weighed in at a trim 95kg!! That was the 2nd stage of my weight loss target. Next step 90kg. For those out of the loop, I started at 104kg, which was one of the reasons Dave and Andy's old time gospel hour at Eagle's Nest featured the very cruel song, Hiking with Fat Guts.
Of course the yr 11 leadership camp that year is best remembered for the ill fated water fight that saw us kicked out of the campsite at 11:00pm with no bus or visible means of support and my credibilty in tatters as a result of the camp caretaker (commandant) demanding "Who's in charge?" and finding only me, dripping head-to-toe and meekly admitting I was who he was looking for!! Diesel of course ducked, weaved and dodged a bullet and still brags about it to this day! But, that, along with my excess weight is all a thing of the past! I feel good!!

2nd Night in Cloisters

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We're in! Tonight is our second night in the new house. As you would expect it is still pretty messy and incomplete but the essentials are in place, beds, food, toothbrushes and computer. A friend from church, Austen leant me his truck which is a three tonne tip truck with a crane which certainly made loading the washing machine a lot easier! Most of our stuff from Harvest Rd has been moved, leaving just the cleaning/gardening before we can depart for the last time. We've done two trips to the Cook's place where the bulk of our stuff was stored and probably have two more trips before it's finished. I feel a strange mix of guilt and annoyance at how much "stuff" we've got. The accumulation of material possessions seems to be one of the most insidious diseases of the 21st century and we are fully fledged sufferers. Boxes and boxes of stuff cluttering up our lives! This move has made me determined to declutter and simplify, dispose and diminish. The house looks great and I just don't want to fill it up with stuff for the sake of it. So bargain hunters and garage sale junkies get ready, the sale sign goes out next weekend, and St Vinnie and the Salvos will get what's left after that! Carolyn is happy to finally be in our new home, though she's understandably tired and a bit daunted by the work still left to do. The kids are enjoying the new space and closer proximity to friends and places. They'll be able to walk to school, though that is a modern novelty and thus may take some retraining to bring to fruition, but it's at least possible and that's a start. Thankfully it's a long weekend in WA so I've got tomorrow to continue/complete the process.

The well used and slightly soiled chook that was used for Frozen Chook Bowling at Phat Phriday. Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Last I heard they were well out to sea and being waved goodbye by the many local school kids who came down to witness a special and memorable moment. One of these kids is my son Paul, guess which one!! Posted by Hello

When I arrived at 2:00pm the beach was covered in whales but by 3:00 o'clock they were all in the water and about to swim away. A fleet of boats came round behind them and herded them out toward deeper water, making lots of noise so as to deter them from heading back in and beaching again. Posted by Hello

As each whale was pulled into the water the volunteer teams would nurse and stabilise it until finally they were all in the water so they could all move off together. Posted by Hello

Teams of people using slings and timing their efforts to coincide with the waves managed to move the whales from the sand to the water in about 3-4 goes. The media were everywhere. Posted by Hello

There were about 140 whales on the beach, in two places about 1 km apart, and thousands of people there to rescue, support or watch what was a quite amazing scene. It was a cold rough day on Geographe Bay, more well-known for it's calm waters. Posted by Hello

The only casualty from yesterday's whale beaching and rescue in Busselton, a false killer whale, ironic really. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 03, 2005

Yesterday we paint, today we pack, tomorrow we move

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The house is almost painted, just two of the kid's bedrooms to go and a couple of feature walls, and it looks great. Many thanks to Noel pastor/surfer/painter for his stupendous painting job, and accolades to Carolyn for her polyfilling/vaccuming and curtain/blinds/pelmet re fitting.
We were both there until 2.00am this morning getting ready for the carpet cleaner to do his magic on the white carpet!!!! Free tip! Don't lay white carpet in a house that anyone intends to live in!
The packing has started but there's a fair bit to do tonight then tomorrow I pick up Ozzie's truck and the relocation begins.
If you're not busy feel free to come and lend a hand, we'll be at it all (long) weekend. Hopefully we'll be settled by Monday!

Phat Phriday goes off

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Undoubtedly the highlight of Phat Phriday's debut at lunchtime was "Frozen Chook 10 Pin Bowling" which as the name suggests is 10 pin bowling with a frozen chook. (Aussie for chicken for you international surfers) 2 litre bottles of soft drink (on special for a dollar each at Makro!) served as the pins, the youthworker's friend a sheet of black plastic formed the lane and a nameless and in the end slightly worse for wear frozen chook substituted for the ball. I tried to convince Rod and Stu, my Synoptic accomplices, to drill three finger holes in the chook but they refused on the grounds it might constitute cruelty to the chook, so the kids just had to grab it any way they could. And they did. They lined up all lunchtime to have a go, with just one kid taking home a chocolate bar for scoring a strike, and that with an overarm delivery reminiscent of Shane Warne. Lots of bowlers missed the target altogether, and one or two deliveries cannoned into the spectators. Other hilights were the Glad Wrap Banana eating challenge race, and the two man egg demolition derby.
Sadly we ran out of time to have the milk the sawhorse race featuring milk-filled rubber gloves as udders, but we'll be back next week. There were 2-300 kids there and it went off.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Save the Whales, or at least take a few photos!

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I wrote some stuff yesterday then it disappeared into the black hole of cyber space and I'm not happy Jan!
I'm off to the beach with a couple of kids to see the 80-100 minky whales which have beached themselves in Busselton. They're only about 1 km from the school and there has been a constant exodus of kids out of the school to go and see this strange phenomenon. I've got a couple of boys I'm trying to engage and get on track at school. The plan is take them fishing about once a week but we won't be needing the rods today. Photos to follow.