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Monday, July 31, 2006

The last Squash Season begins

Holt Press
The drought is over, winter is definitely here. It poured rain in Busselton today, the gutters were overflowing, the drains were backed up and the quadrangle was a quagmire. Yet by this afternoon the sun was shining and the school was dry again, if you'd missed the rain you wouldn't have believed it happened at all, amazing.

I spent most of the day dealing with Country Week stuff, trying to finish my report in time for the coach's debrief at lunchtime, buying cake and drinks for the coaches as promised in my note (yes bribery is alive and well in modern education!) then meeting with Rae Marie and John after lunch to discuss plans for next year, especially to do with finances and ways to cut costs. We had a middleman agent do some of our bookings this year but I don't think it's necessary, I could do the same job without having to pay (and charge kids) more. The group were happy to approve that change and also reported it was the smoothest and most stress free country week they can remember, in fact John, a veteran of some 16 or so country weeks went so far as to say it was the best ever! That made me feel pleased, as did the coach's expressions of thanks and commendation at lunchtime. It is nice to do a job well and nicer still to be affirmed for it. I enjoyed country week and certainly learnt a bit in the process of planning and managing it. Maybe there's a career opportunity for me in event management somewhere down the track when teenagers decide I'm too old/not cool enough to be a school chaplain any more!

The rest of the day was spent doing stuff to prepare for the quiz night on Saturday night. Someone has done some work to gather prizes which is really good news, including a lunch for 8 at a nice cafe which along with a dozen bottles of wine will make a good first prize.
I really hope we get a good crowd, the success of quiz nights is determined by one basic unit of measurement, Bums On Seats!

The new squash season started tonight. It also happens to be the final squash season to be played in Busselton, possibly ever. The squash courts are being sold and redeveloped at the end of the year and that spells almost certain death of squash in the town, it's unlikely anyone will ever build another squash centre here. Squash had it's hey day in the 70's and 80's but with the rise in popularity of indoor sports centres through games like basketball, indoor cricket and volleyball squash has fallen by the wayside.
It's a shame because it's a great game and a really good workout, but ultimately, the dollar will decide it's fate, just as it does so many other things in life!
So I've signed up for one last season. I've been ranked in B2 grade, same as last season, and tonight found myself playing Annabelle, the top ranked B2 player last season! I was pretty rusty, not having swung a racquet in about 2 months, but thankfully my power serve was working ok and I won the first set. Annabelle hit back in the second to tie it up 1-1. I got on top in the third and held on to win but in the 4th she rolled me easily, winning 9-3 to take it to the fifth and deciding set.
I was sweating, breathing hard and my legs were a bit rubbery. My power serving and down the line drives were keeping me in the game against Annabelle's cross court drop shots and angled winners. I gladly accepted a couple of lucky miss-hit winners and stretched in vain for shots going past me. I tried to play her serve on the full to stop from getting tangled up in the back corners but as often as not my timing was lousy and I'd miss it completely or tip it into the back wall.
To my syrprise I got in front in the 5th and despite a few nervous moments when I surrendered the serve managed to stay there to go on and win the game. Mind you, I yelled with more relief than celebration when my final shot stayed in just above the tin and out of reach to finish the game.
I was surprised to win but pleased to do so, and to work up a decent sweat in the process.

When I got home I helped Jordy fold his junk mail while watching Enough Rope.
Now I'm supposed to be doing quiz night questions but as we know, blogging comes first!

Sunday

Holt Press
By virtue of a minor miracle I made it to church this morning. I painted until 2am and then got caught up watching the end of a movie on tv until 3 o'clock so I didn't like my chances of getting up in time, but I made it. The kids led the service this morning which is always entertaining and unpredictable. At the end of the service I felt led to go out and pray for Keith and Ossie, the 2 guys who run the children's ministry at church. They're both great guys and you can really see the love they have for the kids and the time and effort they put into working with them. The kids really like them and always have a lot of fun at Sunday school.

After church we invited Wayne and Jackie and their kids back to our place for lunch. Since they moved to Capel we don't see so much of them and I've thought about asking them to come for lunch a number of times so it was good to finally do it today. Nothing fancy, just toasted ham cheese and tomato sandwiches, but they were tasty and it was good to hang out for a while. During the holidays Jordan went and stayed at their place for a sleepover and it turned into about a week!! They said he was no trouble at all, the kids all like him and he's very helpful when he's there although he head sworn Jackie to secrecy about that last point! Too late, your cover's blown kid!
It's a funny thing how kids can be so helpful and willing to do jobs and things when they're at other people's houses!!

After lunch I took about 9 paintings down to the ArtGeo Gallery at the old courthouse. I signed up yesterday to display some of my paintings. This will be a big test! Will people actually like them and more importantly will they be prepared to pay money for them? They are completely different to anything else they've got on display, which may not be saying much!! The coordinator, Sharon, told me yesterday that abstracts are the big thing at the moment, the last 5 paintings they've sold have all been abstracts, so there's some hope for me! It seems amazing to me that I can even contemplate having anything I painted hanging in a gallery! (Mind you, they hadn't seen them when I talked to them yesterday so they may politely tell me "No thanks" when they do see them!!) Nothing ventured nothing gained though!!

The low point of the day was watching Geelong lose to the Kangaroos, thereby almost certainly killing off any finals chance that may have remained. It was a dismal day with Ling concussed and Gary Ablett doing an AC joint in his shoulder in the first quarter and Cam Mooney getting reported again!!!!
This has been a VERY disappointing footy season!

Tonight we went to a combined churches worship and prayer service at Cornerstone. There was a good crowd there from 4 different churches. I really enjoyed the service, my friend Ruth led the worship, she's a talented muso and singer and did a great job. There was a time of prayer in small groups which can sometimes misfire but tonight it went really well.

When we got home I watched The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King on tv and started a new painting which is about 75% done now and looks ok so far.
I was trying to have an early night! Or earlier at least! Limited success in that department.
Back to the grind tomorrow!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rusty's new hairstyle

You may remember me posting about a former student who was going to shave his hair to raise money for Luekaemia research. Here he is post-shaving! Nothing so boring as a bald skull for Rusty! He'd been growing his hair specifically for the purpose for about 5 years.
He didn't make his $10,000 target but did still raise a few thousand dollars for a good cause. Posted by Picasa

Sport Boy in action at soccer this morning

It's so good to have the soccer back on after three weekends off for the school holidays. After thinking we'd be without shirts because Samuel has moved to Bunbury we were relieved when Graham turned up with them. Unfortunately Samuel didn't play but he should be ok for the rest of our games till the end of the season. Sport Boy was pretty excited and keyed up for the game since we were playing the only team to beat us this season. We had 10 players to choose from, a "luxury" that hasn't happened often. Thankfully Graham ran quick substitutions every couple of minutes to rotate the kids on and off. I get so caught up in coaching and encouraging the kids from my on-field position that I forget about subs. In fact today I got in the way a couple of times and the ball actually hit me once, the other coach wasn't impressed, all I could do was apologise. The games are always exciting and lots of parents come along to watch and support their kids from both teams.

Unfortunately Jordy has quit his team through frustration. There are kids on the team who never pass him the ball and there's criticism and negativity which is no fun. He's a decent player but some of the older kids give him a hard time. However, he did referee a game of under 11's this morning. He needs to become more assertive and take charge of the game a bit more but he has a good attitude and could get more into it if he's keen. The $10 a game payment is certainly an incentive.
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Sport Boy celebrates after scoring the first goal this morning

He had several chances today and would normally have scored 2-3 but their keeper and defence saved a couple and he went wide too. The goal he did score was very scrambly coming from a cross from Morgan I think, Sport Boy just managed to get a foot on it and it spun around the keeper and just inside the post. He spent his customary amount of time flying through the air and hitting the ground after tackles, he certainly throws himself into it. There were quite a few strong collisions between players this morning, not intentional just kids going for the ball. Georgia copped the ball in her tummy and later another one in the head but she came back for more. Posted by Picasa

St Josephs with the ball

After the game Sport Boy told me that he'd had trouble keeping his shorts up cause the elastic was broken. Here's the proof. When I showed him this picture he said, "Look Dad, I'm pulling my dacks up so they don't fall down"! It was a great game and not as one sided as the 3-0 scoreline suggests. Our only defeat of the season was at the hands of St Josephs, a 1-0 loss in which Ben C scored an own goal. The kids played great today, lots of passing, lots of running and chasing back and several scoring chances at either end. Posted by Picasa

Look out Isaac, here comes Sport Boy

Just after scoring the third goal for Cornerstone under 9's in this morning's 3-0 win V St Josephs Dragons. Isaac was our best player today which is great cause he's sometimes difficult. Today he played really well and ran tirelessly throughout the game. He thrives on praise and opportunity (don't we all?) It was fitting that he should score our final goal. Posted by Picasa

Hugs and smiles

Sport Boy (middle) and Ben A (right) celebrate with Isaac after he scored our 3rd goal. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Change of plans

Holt Press
I've changed my mind and have decided not to go up to Perth tonight. The main reason I was going in the first place was the court case to which I'd been summoned and thus had no choice. The other events were tied in around having to be in Perth. While it would be nice to go to the breakfast and also to catch up with the footy camp boys, it's not worth yet another trip to Perth, the extra petrol cost or the day away from school, plus the fact that I'm already tired and two night drives up and back are not an exciting prospect.
So, I'm staying home. Apologies Morgs if you read this before I speak to you tomorrow, and also to Greg and Demelza who were going to have me at their place for the night.

We had our first game of volleyball after the school holiday break tonight. We started well, taking the first set against Breakaways but then fell apart to lose the next two sets, the last one by a mile! I refereed a couple of games as well, it's pretty low key and the extra pocket money is handy.

Now that I'm not going to Perth I can go to The Big Brekky in the morning, just what I needed, a reason to get out of my warm bed before 7 on a cold wet wintery Busselton morning!
I'd wag it but Stu reads my blog so he'll know I didn't go to Perth!

Engage Auto-pilot, Destination Perth

After the busyness of yesterday today has been a little slower paced. I spent the morning updating notes from a workshop I ran for a chaplains PD day in 2000 entitled, Death in Schools - Memorial Services. I have performed many funerals and memorial services in my time in school chaplaincy and have built up some resources and ideas through the experience. This morning I received a phone call from a chaplain who has the sad duty of conducting a memorial service for two young men who were killed in a high speed car crash this week, you may have heard about it on the news. These days when I hear of the death of a young person my mind turns to the chaplain at their school who more often than not will be actively involved in providing support to kids, teachers and the family of the dead person. The chaplain asked for any notes or suggestions I could offer as she prepares for the service on Monday.
That's where the combination of networking and technology makes our jobs that much easier. After editing and amending my notes I emailed several pages of documents to her. One phone call, one email, great stuff.

I am going back up to Perth tonight in order to attend the Governor's Prayer Breakfast at Burswood tomorrow morning. Ironically I was then due to appear in court as a witness following a car crash caused by a drunk driver last year, see picture, but the police rang me yesterday to say I would no longer be required because the woman in question has changed her plea to guilty. A good thing too. No-one was hurt but she was very lucky, hitting one car and speeding across two lanes of on-coming traffic before crashing through two front yards and finishing up smashing into a tree.
Tomorrow night there's a dinner for the Footy Camp team at Morg's place in Brentwood, a chance to catch up and debrief a bit after the camp.
Back home tomorrow night in time for Sport Boy's soccer game, which reminds me I've got to go now to run soccer training, shame the weather is cold and wet!!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Three Generations of Bloggers

On the left we have the author, owner and proprietor of Holt Press inc. young, thin, a new father, wearing a windcheater that I screen printed on when screen printing was my artistic outlet and I sold T-shirts under the label, "Printz of Peace", mostly christian stuff, at places like the Blackstump Festival in NSW back in the late 80's. This picture was taken in the second half of 1988.

I'm holding our first son, Zachariah aka The Heir. We were on a weekend break from our time at Kilmany Park in Sale, Gippsland, in eastern Victoria where we were studying on a youthwork course run by Fusion Australia. 18 years later and The Heir is following a familiar path. Having done a certificate 4 course in youthwork with Fusion at their new training base in Poatina Tasmania, he has carried on to do their diploma course and is currently in England on prac, Fusion having spread out to a number of countries around the world including Canada, Greece, Albania, South Africa, Indonesia and the UK.
When this picture was taken The Heir was about 18 months old and a lot cuter than he is now, no dreadlocks for a start, and I could still pick him up, a feat I wouldn't dare attempt now.
You can read about his adventures in the northern hemisphere on his excellent blog The Posse House. His writing is great though his output is sporadic. Before he protests, there has been a significant increase in the frequency of his posts since his last trip home, which is due at least in part to the influence of the 3rd member of this group,
my father Peter whose blog Holtieshouse has hit big time status having clocked 20,000 hits a few days ago.
You can take your chances with his blog, I'm a daily reader but occasionally I hope that my younger son Jordan hasn't dropped by for a visit!!

This picture was taken at Tanderra, a property near Maryborough in central Victoria where Dad and Julie lived for several years before their marriage ended. I loved visiting them at Maryborough, I'd often hitch-hike up from Melbourne or drive up in some old bomb I had at the time for a weekend. Invariably Dad and I would stay up late talking. In fact those are some of my fondest memories, I reckon I grew up a little bit in between each visit, and my return after living overseas for 2 1/2 years in the early 80's was especially enjoyable. Going to bed at 3am after many hours chewing the fat with Dad is one of my favourite things to do.
He still lives on the other side of the country, too far away (in my view, just about the right distance in his!) (I always hope he's joking when he says that but I know there's a little bit of truth in it.) That's why it was so special to be able to go over to Queensland to celebrate his 70th birthday in May and having The Heir there and reuniting the three generations was fantastic.And you can see for yourself why I won't be trying to pick The Heir up!

Blue Eyes

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Tuesday

Holt Press
The kids returned to school today, or the kids at Busso high school did at least. The kids at Cornerstone don't go back until Thursday apparently. It would have been good to know this before Carolyn got Paul and Jordan ready and took them to school this morning. They were greeted by closed gates and one other lonely looking school boy sitting at the bus stop! Probably a teacher's conference or some sort of PD on I guess. There was probably something about it in a newsletter at the end of term, but, it didn't get read here! Presumably the kids were told at the end of term not to come to school until Thursday, but it would seem that neither the high school version nor the primary school model managed to take in that particular piece of information!
They are not complaining of course, having scored a couple of extra bonus holidays. Carolyn was just relieved that she wasn't the only one not to know what was going on.

I was back in the swing of things at work today, dealing with the finances for Country Week, pumping up the PR for the Big Busso Quiz Night, and writing a report for the district council meeting tonight. The quiz night is a fundraiser that I initiated last year; it went well and raised about $3000 but I'm behind schedule for this year so I don't know how it will go, that's why I'm working on PR. The basic requirement for a successful quiz night is bums on seats. It costs the same to run a quiz night for 50 people as it does for 500 so obviously the more people the better. I've recruited Jordan to do some letterbox dropping, he's already done Cloisters, his regular round, hopefully tomorrow he can do a few other areas as well.
I updated and erected the sign out the front of the school this morning to capture the attention of passing motorists; the school is on a busy corner and one of only 4 intersections in Busselton with traffic lights so there's a captive audience every two minutes.

After tonight's meeting Steve and I went for coffee and a chat at The Vasse. He told me about playing golf on Sunday mornings which lead to him telling me about his godson, a young man who has been part of his life for about 20 years. It was fascinating to hear his story and to trace it back so far. It reinforced something that I had said at the meeting, that youthwork is a marathon not a sprint. We are in it for the long haul and sometimes it's only years down the track that we see results or impact from our work. The weddings I've done and have coming up are all a result of long-term relationships, people want a personal touch on their big day and look for people who have a personal connection, not just a license.

I embarked on an ambitious painting project at Footy Camp and I'm still not finished it, there is a lot of detail and it's taking a long time to get it done. I spent a couple more hours on it tonight and it's still incomplete. I'll be glad when it's done.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Message for The Heir

Holt Press
Zac, I need your address to send your license renewal form to.

Monday, July 24, 2006

First Day Back at Work

Holt Press
First day back at work and the day dawned wet cold and miserable!! It bucketed rain today but it's all good cause WA has been so dry we're desperate for as much rain as we can get. Good news for farmers and dams aside it certainly doesn't inspire you to get out of bed and go to work!!

I spent this morning running a Rock and Water training session for the staff at Vasse Primary school, the first time I've run it with adults. It went well, there was lots of laughter and enjoyment and the staff really got into it.

After lunch I caught up on a few things in my office, dealt with the most pressing emails, and began some overdue work on the Big Busso Quiz Night which is on in 2 weeks!

Enough Rope has just started so the blog will have to wait.

Scenes from Footy Camp

Catching up on a bit of the blogging backlog, these are scenes from Footy Camp, the boys with their best player medals, the victorious Cats with the shield, the footy ground cake Georgie and Tammy made, and Dean Cox obliging the boys with a photo at Eagles training. Posted by Picasa

Ashdale garden Primary School

On Sunday morning we went to church with Greg and Sheryl. Their church meets at Ashdale Gardens PS. I enjoyed the small relaxed service. I also enjoyed the artworks around the school, 3 statues of kids playing and a giant pen replete with a blue line up the wall and culminating in a bird "drawn" by the pen.
As I've said before, I love public art. How cool for the kids at the school to have artworks right in their playground. Posted by Picasa

Walter, Mum, Carolyn and Don

You're right Pop, it was a classy dress-up occasion!! Don was resplendant in his flanelette shirt and beanie as he fulfilled his duties as MC!
It was a very relaxed and friendly affair although I'm almost prepared to admit that some Slim Dusty "music" would have been better than the piano accordian!! Certainly people were suitably dressed for some Slim. Posted by Picasa

Uncle Neil and Auntie Joan at their Golden Wedding Celebration at Dale Hall

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

My cousins, the McQuinn girls

L-R (coincidentally in order of age too) Susan, Heather, Elizabeth and Judy.
Everyone had a great time at the anniversary party and there was a lot of laughter while I was taking these pictures. We always had a great time together when we were kids too. Our ages (the Holt kids) and theirs all inter-wove year for year, I was closest to Elizabeth. Posted by Picasa

McQinn kids and grandkids

Shae, Elizabeth, Stephanie and Clare, Judy Posted by Picasa

Cousins

Sport Boy and Jordan with the other kids at Neil and Joan's anniversary yesterday. Posted by Picasa

Scenes from the Golden Wedding Celebration

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A Man and His Shed

Birchy has a fantastic shed, a bloke's power-tool paradise. He built it himself, as well as a huge pergola that runs the entire length of their new house.Even a bloke as technically challenged and lacking in practical skills as me can appreciate how cool Birchy's shed is.
These are the pics of our timber scrounging exercise on Saturday morning. The Triton turned the large chunks of scrap timber into a mountain of easel-making material in a matter of minutes, saving me hundreds of dollars in the process.
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The as yet unfinished "Me as a Tree" painting!!

As mentioned in a previous post the Tree painting I started at the Art as Self-Care workshop at the conference.
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Cam's Cousin's Wife's 40th Birthday Present

I saw Cam at the footy today but I forgot to ask him what his cousin's wife thought of her present. I'm going to presume that his failure to mention it was purely oversight and not avoidance! (Cam, as a semi-regular HoltPress reader perhaps you can leave a comment re the verdict.)
I really like it and will be doing some more in a similar style.

An interesting footnote was that Katherine, who home schools their kids, took inspiration from this painting and she and the kids all worked on paintings the following day.
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YES!!!! The Cats Won by a Point

Holt Press
I'm just coming down from the stress and excitement of Geelongs nailbiting 1 point win against the Bulldogs! The tension was unbearable but the Cats were brilliant under pressure.

Now I can relax and go to the Dockers game with SportBoy.

Go Cats

Golden Wedding / Family Reunion

Holt Press
Saturday night at the Ballajura Motor Inn aka Letchy's place. Gregand Cn are watching a David Attenborough Nature DVD, theboys have gone to bed, Sheryl was in bedwhen we got here and I'm summoningupthe energy to blog.
It's been a longish day andI'm tired, butI'm not complaining, it's been a good day.

The sound of Sohia squealing in her jolly jumper woke me at the reasonable time of 9.00. As promised I inducted the Birch kids into the sacred practice of jelly bean scrambling this morning and they did the right thing by saving the black ones for me.

Darren and I went for a drive to scrounge some timber from a couple of housing sites under construction. We're talking scrap here, not the good stuff, just the off cuts and bits thrown in the dumper bins. Then Birchy broke out his trusty Triton work bench and power saw!! That rampaedthe testosterone levels up a couple of notches! I even got to wear ear muffs and safety glasses! We (by we I mean 90% Darren, 10% me) then proceeded to transform the wood into over 100 lovely square lengths the perfect dimension for me to work with. Based on the price I paid the other day for approx 15% of the amount we produced today I now have several hundred dollars worth of timber in the back of my car ready to be transformed into easels on which to display my paintings, woohoo!

I headed over to Letchy's place at Ballajura for my rendevouz withCarolynandtheboys but neither they nor the Letches were there when I arrived. To my surprise the front door was open but there was no-one home. I made myself comfortable and sat down to watch the footy. That presented a dilemma, what do you do when you hate both teams that are playing? In the end Collingwood beat the Eagles, ironically that doesn't help Geelong.

Greg and Sheryl came home having watched Garred's footy game at Whitfords, his team won by a point in the last minute so they were pretty excited.
Carolyn and the boys arrived shortly after and after a few minutes of catching up and a couple of toasted sandwiches for lunch we set off for Beverley. We were running a bit late because they hadn't gotten away from Busselton on time, because cartolyn hadn'tslept very well last night and was almost too tired to make the trip. Thankfully she did because we had agreat afternoon at the anniversary party which washeld at the Dale Hall. We arrived about half way through the speeches and made a grand entrance. Cake, toasts, photos, accordian music(!) and much catching up followed. Joan and Neil have been family friendssince my parents were in school and their kids and us were"cousins" who always enjoyed our visits and holidays whether at Geelong where we lived or at Koromburra or later Terang where they lived. They had 4 girls, Susan, Heather, Elizabeth and Judith. Elizabeth and I were closest in age and always got along well, whether climbing trees, riding our bikes down to the saleyards or jumping off the Garret Road Bridge. When we were kids her nickname was Fred and it was a sad day when she informed us that she longer wished to be addressed as Fred. Even now, some 30 years later I sometimes go to call her Fred and pull myself up lest she belt me! (Similarly my brother Bruce was knownas "Squid" for a long time, after the cartooncharacter Squiddly Diddly but he nolonger goes by that nickname either. My older brother Alan was universally known as Frog or Froggy at school so naturally when I started school I was dubbed Tadpole!!)

Susan now lives in Queensland and sees a bit of my Dad, probably not all that much, but more than me!
Heather and Don live in Beverley.
Elizabeth and Chris live inMt Lawley and Judy (who informed me today that she too has drawn a line and does not answer to Judith any more) lives in Padbury, not far from where we lived at Heathridge.

It was great to see them all again, especially all together, a rare occurrence these days. I took pictures but they'll have to wait until I get home.

When the main party broke up 20 or more of us continued on to Neil and Joan's at Muddlethru Farm where we enjoyed the log fire, the footy on tv and roast lamb rolls and cake for tea. More stories and reminiscences but we couldn't stay too long as we had the 2 hour drive back to Ballajura dodging the kangaroos with death wishes. To be fair, the only roos we saw were already dead which was a relief.

Predictably I got "lost" upon entering the twilight zone of Ballajura, although the disorientation started much earlier when I decided to take the scenic route via Kalamunda so we could enjoy the view of the lights of Perth coming down from the hills. At one point Jordan asked "Is this the way to the Letches?" I replied "It's a way to Letches!

The kids had a great afternoon running around and playing with all the other kids at the party, the various off spring of the McQuinn girls. They both remarked on the way home how much they'd enjoyed it.

I'm going to have another try to ring The Heir tonight, we've been having trouble connecting. He did send me an SMS at 3 o'clockthis morning but I chose to ignore it and go back to sleep.
My father will no doubt remind me that when I spent two years living in England I was similarly unappreciative of time differences when I would ring them at Maryborough! What goes around comes around hey Pop?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Too Busy to Blog

Can you believe that?
I went more than 24 hours without blogging!

I would have blogged last night but my evening was taken up with dinner at Birchy's, followed by a special viewing, by appointment, of the vasectomy episode of Home Improvement which Birchy has been threatening to show me for over a year, then The West Wing, one of my favourite shows.

Sure I could have blogged then, butI had a painting commission to do, for Cam's cousin's wife's 40th birthday (tonight).
I suggested it, he bought the canvas and a couple of tubes of paint, and I did the rest, I just didn't anticipate the 2.30 finish!!!!
The sacrifices we artists make!!!!!

Seriously, it turned out really well and he was very happy with it. Hopefully his cousin's wife will be too, he promised to let me know what the response was.

By then it was time for bed as I had another early start at the conference today.

The conference was predictable, a mixture of good and bad.

I attended the "Art as Self-Care" workshop elective today, which wasn't as fun as it should/could have been, but I did get to paint for the last session and a half, but only after a voice and sound making/body moving exercise (read self-conscious squirming) and then imagining myself as a tree! I had to then paint the tree I'd imagined myself to be!

The result is not finished yet. It's pretty different to my other stuff (surprise surprise!) but it has potential and the facilitator did give me a couple of ideas for how to complete it.

My paintings in the exhibition were well received and admired but no sales resulted. I did give one to my friend Andrew (Hi Andy) (He's a self-confessed blog-lurker) He liked it and he's been pretty helpful to me in the past so it was nice to give him a gift, and who knows, the more my paintings get out in the public domain the more chance others will see and potentially want to buy them! That's the vague marketing plan anyway.

I also gave one to Darren and Katherine as a thank you for their hospitality in having me for a couple of nights, again, it's nice to bless people and they are wonderful friends so I'm glad they said they'd like one.
We all had a game of balloon volleyball for their Family Fun Night tonight.
Tomorrow I'm going to introduce their kids to the joys of Jelly Bean Scrambling!

I was going to go to a movie tonight cause I've had a free ticket for over 12 months that I haven't used, but there was a dearth of good films at local cinemas (the Birches live in Banksia Grove, read South Geraldton) so I'm staying home to watch the footy.

Hopefully Darren and I will go out on a scrounging mission shortly looking for scrap timber from a couple of housing construction sites round the corner that he can machine down into suitable sizes for me to make some more easels.

Tomorrow is Uncle Neil and Auntie Joan's golden wedding anniversary at Beverley. Imagine that, they've been married longer than I've been alive!! Should be a good family reunion.

Zac, if you read this, I've only just gotten your new phone number, I'll try ringing again tonight.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It's My Blog so Give it Back

After some fun and games with Blogger last night when it published "On the Road Again" 4 times then crashed I seem to have wrestled back control of my blog.
I'm up unpleasantly early and headed for the PD conference at Karrinyup.
If you're in town and want to see the art exhibition drop in to the chapel at St Marys Anglican Girls School today or tomorrow! Everythings for sale at good prices!!!!! (Good for who you ask? Good question!!)

On the Road Again

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Here I am back in Perth, seems I spend most of my time these days travelling up and down the south-west highway and with the ever increasing price of petrol that's not a cheap hobby. I'm staying at the Robinson's in Shenton Park and have just gotten home from our Beach Mission executive team meeting which lasted about 5 hours! Thankfully that included some gourmet pizza and plenty of catching up and fun and laughter with the crew. We changed the team structure a few years ago so now the major policy and planning decisions are made in a small group (the executive) and the large group gatherings focus on training, team-building and admin, it works much better this way although it does mean more frequent trips to Perth for me as the team leader. As I've mentioned before it's a diverse and dynamic group. One couple just got back from 5 days in Singapore, one couple were absent because one of them is in China and another couple are about to go away for two months to Europe! They are a great group and together we are involved in a really enjoyable, and we'd like to think significant, event every year, running a christian outreach festival at a caravan park in Augusta, the most south-westerly town in Australia and the place where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet. Carolyn and I and our kids have been going to Augusta beach mission for over 10 years and there has been significant change, growth and improvement during that time, primarily because of the skills and calibre of the people on the team. Fusion, the Christian organisation that the Heir is working and training with and which had a significant role on my own training and formation as a Christian and a youthworker/chaplain, talk about the power of the "Small group of friends" model for changing the world, ala the 12 Apostles. We certainly don't lay claim to anything like their influence or achievement but there's no doubt that the impact and effectiveness of our mission at Augusta is due in no small part to the close friendship and common bond that we share.

Blogger just ate half my post and I don't know where to find it!

The main reason for coming to Perth this time was for a chaplains conference and the main reason for going to that is not the professional development, which can be hit and miss, sometimes excellent and sometimes ....not, it's the chance to catch up with friends and colleagues. The networking time at breaks and over meals is the main attraction and often the most useful part of the day. There is an added bonus this time though, there's an exhibition of artwork done by chaplains which came about following a discussion between me and Alison my area chaplain. I've brought up about 20 of my paintings and a few of my photos to include in the display. I spent the last hour before I left home making a number of wooden easels to display them on which was a creative process in itself. Sport Boy gave me a hand with it and we both enjoyed it and the results are quite pleasing. He is currently on a self-initiated personal development program , "I'm striving for excellence Dad"! (That's his school's motto) but he has made it his own so he's been extra helpful and considerate the last few days. Combine that with his usual bright personality and developing sense of humour and he's quite entertaining to be around at the moment.



Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Leaping Leo

Various perspectives of the Leo Barry pack mark in the 2005 Grand Final. For those who don't know him or are unfamiliar with Aussie Rules football Mark Seaby is the player in blue and yellow who is highest in the picture, next to Chris Judd (who in my opinion shouldn't have won the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground, I thought Buchannan from Sydney deserved it, but no matter, I'm sure Judd would gladly swap medals with any of the Swan's players.)
The bottom photo best illustrates my earlier point that were it not for Leo's heroics for Sydney Seaby was in best position to mark the ball and would then have lined up for a game winning shot at goal!
An interesting footnote is that Barry is suing the AFL and TABCORP for unauthorised use of his image in their advertising campaign, claiming that he should be financially rewarded for any use of his image in taking the mark. A similar legal battle proved successful for Alex Jesalenko whose iconic mark is the most memorable image from the 1970 Grand Final and up until now was the most significant mark in Grand Final history. (Carlton came back from 44 points down at half time to beat Collingwood in that game, something for which all football fans are thankful!)

West Coast Eagles Training

On day two of footy camp we took the boys to Subiaco oval to watch the Eagles train. While the main group went through drills and training exercises a few odd players did separate work. Most interesting was Josh Wooten, now a fringe player at West Coast who ran laps the entire time, checking his stop watch after each lap.
Michael Gardiner is in the news tonight for all the wrong reasons again, having only just won his way back into the team after a disciplinary period at Claremont it looks like his career is finished following an alcohol related car crash last night.
His replacement ruckman Dean Cox didn't train with the main group as he is recovering from a broken collar bone. That leaves footy camp's own Mark Seaby as No. 1 ruckman at West Coast. While it's bad news for the club it's great news for Mark who as I reported the other day is a terrific young bloke. I was looking again at the picture of Leaping Leo Barry's famous game-saving mark in the final minutes of last year's AFL Grand Final today and if Barry hadn't taken the grab Mark was lined up perfectly to mark the ball. Such is the narrow margin between glory and despair in sport! I'll try and post a picture of the incident so you can see what I mean.

Meanwhile I've just had some bad news. Not serious bad just inconvenient bad. We were due to go up to Perth tomorrow for a few days but the place we were going to stay has just fallen through! Some friends who are away up north said we can stay at their place but unfortunately they forgot to leave the security key so there's no way to disarm the alarm, thus we can't stay there. It's doubly a shame because it's just around the corner from where my conference is being held. Now we need to make different arrangements at late notice. Carolyn and the boys were coming but now they may not come until the weekend. I'm going up for a chaplains conference and a beach mission meeting then we're all going to my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary celebration at Beverly on Saturday.
I've got some phone calls to make! Posted by Picasa

The Boys from Footy Camp 2006

The Cats, the Dogs, the Leaders and the Cooks at the end of Footy Camp today. There were a few difficult moments and hiccoughs along the way but all in all it was a good camp. The Cats won the Grand Final this morning ensuring their name would go on the shield again. (Despite the new kids who come to camp every year meaning the teams are never the same, the Cats have won the shield 8 out of 10 times!! since Footy Camp started.)
I had a run-in with one of the kids this morning who pushed my buttons one too many times. He had a particular talent for stirring other kids up and causing conflict and mischief and this morning he pushed one of the other campers who has a short fuse at the best of times too far. He then defied me and refused to follow instructions and for a couple of seconds I saw red and dealt with him in anger and frustration. I'm neither pleased nor proud of the incident but nor am I wracked with guilt. We agreed that we reckon the kid is going to get a belting from someone less patient and forgiving than us one day when he steps over the line the way he did at the camp. I'm not advocating it or wanting it to happen, but unless he changes his attitude/behaviour it's going to happen.
It did leave a slightly sour taste in my mouth, not the way I'd have liked the camp to end. It may be that kids are more difficult/obnoxious/disrespectful than they used to be, or that I'm getting older and less tolerant but incidents like this make me wonder if I'm reaching my use by date in youthwork. Kids annoy me a lot more than they used to! Not all kids obviously, most of them are wonderful and a pleasure to work with but it's the difficult minority who make life unpleasant for others who have me questioning how long I can continue to work effectively.
I have a supervisor with whom I intend to discuss the incident and think through what it means.
 Posted by Picasa

Cat Shrine

I'm home from Footy Camp but still catching up on a few posts from Country Week the week before. On the first Saturday of the holidays I went up to Northam with Scott Darlow to watch the Geelong v Carlton game at the Commercial Hotel. Bob the publican is a diehard Cats fan who has set up a veritable shrine to the Geelong Football Club and has a large screen set up to telecast all Geelong's games. This is a selection of some of his collection of memorabilia and paraphernalia. A great place to watch the footy. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Unfunniest Home Videos!!

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The excursion to darkLight went really well, it's way better than the old Zone 3 that I used to take groups to, with three levels of platforms and tunnels and a really well laid out laser battle ground. The kids had a great time.

My big disappointment of the day was discovering that when I was filming the boys footy game today complete with commentary I inadvertantly got into a wrong rotation on the record and pause buttons on the camera. What does that mean? It means that when I thought I was recording the game the camera was paused and when I thought it was paused after goals were scored, breaks in play etc, it was actually recording, giving lots of wonderful shots of things like the grass and sound effects of me blowing my nose!
It's particularly frustrating because it was an exciting game and my commentary reflected that, and it's the only game we've filmed this year!!
All in all a highly unsatisfactory experience!

I hope to redeem myself tomorrow morning when we play the final game, the result of which will determine whether the Cats or the Dogs will get their name on this year's shield.
needless to say I'll be regularly checking the icons on the screen to ensure they are recording when I want them to!!!!

Geelong hold on to win a close one and keep faint finals hopes alive

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I'm breathing a little easier after a couple of stressful hours watching Geelong play port Adelaide. The Cats came from behind to win by 10 points in a close hard game. My heart rate was elevated a few times but finally things started to go right as the game reached it's climax.

Footy Camp is progressing well, with the Cats and Dogs delicately poised in the fight for the Footy Camp Shield. The Dogs won this afternoon's game to bring the progressive score back to 3-4 in the Cats favour. A win for the Cats tomorrow will seal it, but if the Dogs get up the shield may be shared for only the second time. (The team may discuss it tonight to decide if an extra time or even penalty shoot-out should be introduced to settle the result, World Cup style)

After dinner we're going to Dark Zone, a laser battle game place here in Joondalup which is always a big hit with the kids (and the leaders).

Mark Seaby is here today hanging out with the kids. When I give tonight's team talk Mark will tell them about how his Christian faith influences his life and his career as a West Coast Eagle.

One more night, the deciding game in the morning, the wrap-up and then home.

Footy Camp Day Three

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Quick check-in before bed.

Played my first game for the Cats today, we won by three goals with me playing looses man in defense!

Went to Lathlain for the Perth v West Perth game, good fun.

Had pizza for tea and did the third team talk, based around the life and death of Ted Whitten.

Watched the West Coast v Sydney game which was ruined by two things, 1. West Coast winning and 2. The kids finding out, and announcing, the result before the (delayed) telecast was finished! As I've said before , I hate knowing the result of a game before I watch it.

After the team meeting tonight I painted, for the first time since I left home, I enjoyed it but of course it kept me up very late!!

Last full day tomorrow, and it's not too intense, some footy, maybe a swim and Zone 3 in the evening.

Home on Monday, for a couple of days! Before coming back to Perth for a chaplains conference.


Really hope Geelong beat Port Adelaide tomorrow, C'arn the Cats.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Footy Camp goes to Freo and a familiar ring.

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The trip to the WAFL game at Freo went well, the rain held off and the game was entertaining, with Claremont kicking 6 goals to none in the final quarter and almost snatching victory but South held on to win by 3 points.

I had to find a place to park the bus and while I was walking to the ground dropped in to the Fremantle Markets. I browsed through a jeweller's store and happened to find something I wanted, a silver Russian wedding Ring. I had one of these as my wedding ring when we got married but after a few years it broke and then got lost. I had a gold ring which I wore but it had to be cut off following a football injury.
Carolyn suggested to me recently that I try and replace the Russian ring. I looked in Busselton but couldn't find one so it was good to find one in Freo tonight. For those unfamiliar with the style, a Russian wedding ring has three interlocked rings which roll over one another and appear almost to be plaited.

The kids have all been asleep for about an hour, everyone is pretty tired after two games of footy today.
Tomorrow is a bit more laid back and a later start, yeah!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Day Two at Footy Camp

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Two days running around in the sun have taken their toll, on me, and the kids. I had a headache when we got back from Subiaco this afternoon so I lay down for a rest and had a very refreshing hour and a half's nap. My headache is gone, we've just finished tea, hamburgers and ice cream, and now we're heading off again to go to the WAFL to see Sth Fremantle play Claremont at Freo Oval. It shapes as the best game of the round and it's a bonus that it's a night game, watching footy under lights is always good. Mind you it will be pretty cold down at Fremantle tonight! Time to rug up!

We went to see the Eagles training this morning (ho hum, yawn!) then played a game at Kitchener Park.

The second game of the day was played while I was asleep and it was one win apiece again, making the progressive score in the fight for the Footy Camp Shield 2-2, just the way we like it!

Footy Camp, the first night.

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It's midnight in Joondalup and all is quiet at Footy Camp.
The boys are asleep, or quiet, I'm not sure which and I don't mind, both states are equally good. There are 19 of them sleeping in one big room so it's a fair ask to have them all settle down, be quiet and go to sleep at the same time.

There are the usual groupings, the kids who fell asleep seconds after their heads hit the pillow, the fidgety kids mucking around before they settle, the mischievous mob who want to stir people up with their array of tricks; talking, laughing, burping, farting, throwing things, making snoring noises, animal noises, or throwing apples and mandarins at unsuspecting campers in the dark. Then there's the whingers who want to complain about others and who attract unwanted attention because they react to stuff. These kids are often good but socially unaware and don't understand how to get along with other kids and how to keep themselves out of the spotlight. One of our challenges as a team is to help these kids to learn some skills and how to read the signs in order to get along with other people more easily, at the same time as preventing the "cool" or "difficult" kids from hassling them and making their life miserable.

We've got a few young leaders on the team who are enthusiastic but not experienced and so it's a learning curve for them too. Tonight I suggested they not get into yelling out and telling kids off when we were putting them to bed and there was still a fair bit of noise. That would only inflame the atmosphere and provide a challenge for kids who want to play the button pushing game to see how much it takes to send a leader over the edge. It worked much better just to walk around talking quietly to kids saying "ok guys, quieten down, no more talking". A personal approach even when "telling a kid off" is more efective than shouting or growling or getting into an argument with them.

One of our principal aims at footy camp is to create an environment that is positive, supportive, encouraging, hospitable and caring. In spiritual terms we want to model and foster the values of the kingdom of God; love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, mercy, self control etc.

For some of these kids that will be a foreign experience. They are more used to anger, conflict, disinterest, neglect or worse. (Not all by any means, but certainly some of them come from backgrounds that are less than ideal.)

We want to love the kids, for them to feel good about being here and curious about what motivates a bunch of young blokes to give up their time and run a camp for them. We're not in it for money, in fact we pay fees to come and work on the camp, we're in it because we want to help kids know that God loves them and is interested in their lives.

Our common love of football becomes the vehicle for the message, the conduit that enables us to connect with them and from there build relationships and model and teach them about the Christian faith.

It's not easy. There are plenty of times when it is difficult or uncomfortable, when their behaviour confronts or offends us, when they are swearing at and abusing one another verbally, when they are threatening low level violence against others, when they flout rules and instructions, when they bully others and treat them in unkind ways etc etc.

If kids live in an environment where people are not loved and cared for it 's hardly surprising that they don't immediately respond with warmth and consideration towards others.
It's at those moments, when they push the limits and resist doing the right thing that we have our greatest challenge, and our greatest opportunity.

We haven't always got it right in the past, we'll continue to make mistakes as we go, and I have had more than my share of unhappy incidents at Footy Camp over the last 10 years, but I'm motivated to keep going because I believe kids need to have a reason to hope and to understand their place in the world, to know they are loved and that they are valuable, that their lives matter and that ultimately there is a purpose for their existence.
And I want to have fun playing footy!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Footy Camp Day One

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Good news, after the dramas of last night's wild goose chase around Joondalup, I got a reasonable sleep andRosie made me a cooked breakfast, bacon sausages and hash browns on toast, yum. Footy camp has gotten off to a good start, we've got 19 boys with one more who's sick but hopefully will get here tomorrow. The annual battle between the Cats and the Dogs has begun and it's one win apiece. The Dogs took game one but the Cats hit back to win game two in a very closely fought match with the lead changing several times in the last quarter.

The boys are showering and getting ready for dinner and the school principal has kindly logged me on to the computer in the canteen so I can blog. (Admittedly I didn't tell her it was to blog but she was happy enough to grant my request).

It's been a beautiful day, perfect for football altyhough the sun in our eyes was a bit difficult in the first game. I took the umpiring duties today and managed not to upset too many people although one of the campers was a bit frustrated at being caught holding the ball a couple of times.

Tonight we're playing indoor footy at a school gym, should be good fun.

AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I've just spent the last 2 hours, between midnight and 2.00am, lost, driving around Joondalup looking for Trevor and Rosie's place!!!!!!!!

I got to Perth in reasonable time, pulled in for petrol at Joondalup, then set off for what should have been a 2 minute drive to where I'm staying!!!!

Think again!

I'd forgotten their address.

It was dark so nothing looked familiar.

I've only been here once before so couldn't remember how to get here, though I knew exactly what I was looking for, a large two-storey house overlooking a park.

But I couldn't find it.

I drove around and around and around Joondalup, covering the same streets two and three times, trying every park in the suburb. I scoured the street directory but no name sounded right, or rather, none of the names I thought might be right turned out to be right!!

I went back to the servo to look up their number and address in the phone book, no good.

Tried the internet, not listed.

I could have rung but the later it got the less inclined I was to ring and wake them up.

I was contemplating the joys of sleeping in the car in the middle of winter.

I was frustrated.

I was confused.

I was annoyed at myself.

I've got a camp starting in 7 hours time!!

I tried again and turned left instead of right, a park appeared and with it a house that looked familiar even in the dark.

I found it, at last!

Hallelujah, thank you God.

Everyone's asleep of course but the computer is on and I just needed to blog to get it out of my system!!!!

Let's hope I can get some sleep now!!!

PS. While I was doing my final preparation and packing at home tonight we had not one but two blackouts, leaving us without power for the best part of two hours!!!! Not ideal timing.

I don't know if it had anything to do with the lack of power and eating by candlelight but Sport Boy asked a couple of interesting questions at dinner time.

"Will our car still work?" A reasonable question when everything else that requires power had stopped working.

"What if God's not real, won't we have wasted our lives?" Wow!

(In case you're interested, Carolyn gave a good answer. The more you get to know God the more sure you'll be that he is real, but if the worst came to the worst and there wasn't a God, you'd still have lived a life seeking to do your best, to love people, to tell the truth and be good and do the right thing so your life wouldn't be wasted, it would be the best life it could be.)
I'm not sure how it all sounded to an 8 year old in the dark but he carried on eating his sausages then went and lay down on the sofa and went to sleep.

And that sounds like a good idea to me!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Footy Camp

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I'm about to head off back to Perth, this time for the annual battle of the Cats and Dogs at Scripture Union Footy Camp for 5 days. I have serious doubts about blogging opportunities while I'm on camp, I'll be trying to post but not sure if it will happen.

Back home on Monday after a feast of footy and fun (hopefully).

Go Cats

Sport Boy clambering over rocks at Augusta in wild wet and windy conditions

What a handsome young man he is even if I do say so myself!!!

We live in a beautiful part of the world and it's always good to get out of the house and go and enjoy our surrounds. Sport Boy and Ben A. had a lovely day, as did Carolyn and I.

We picked up the painting I'd purchased in January, and the gallery owner greed to take one of my paintings on consignment to see if it will sell. Here's hoping! Posted by Picasa