Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End of Term 4, 2013

As term 4 draws to a close we begin readying ourselves to migrate North. Before that happens we have class parties, kinder clean up day, a final round of sports and the club Xmas party on Saturday evening. Never a dull moment.

Yesterday Angus and Owen had their final swimming lesson of the year - and Angus' final lesson ever. Angus received his Maxi Green level certificate yesterday and Owen received a Super Effort certificate for his freestyle prowess. Great work boys.

Patrick is in his second week of holidays and enjoying sleeping until noon. Teenagers! He and Karen are both spending some time packing for Jamboree for which they will be departing on NYE.

Karen is also busy baking for class parties and organising everybody for the trip north. Last weekend Karen and the other Jamboree scouts leaders went to packing day at Calder Park. The aim of the exercise was to fit the gear for 40 people into 2x 2 cubic metre containers for transporting to Qld. And of course they nailed it!

Lily has her final kinder class today before a clean up day on Thursday. She's really looking forward to prep.

I'm working right up until Xmas Eve when I'll be working from Brian and Viv's before packing up the laptop until 30 January. But before then I've got an interview for a 3 month secondment position in one of our other businesses. It's a great opportunity so here's hoping.

Merry Xmas to everybody and all the best for a great 2013 :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Scouts silly season

This coming weekend is an annual activity-based camp for Scouts called Gilweroo. As our Scouts are going to Jamboree in January with Scouts from other troops, Gilweroo is a good opportunity to get the kids and leaders in one spot for a weekend before heading off to Jamboree and living in each others pockets for two weeks. It also allows the troops and equipment to be tweaked as necessary. Therefore Karen and Patrick are off to Mt Martha on Friday evening for the weekend.

Saturday morning will see Angus hit the Warburton Rail Trail with some Cubs and Scouts for the annual bike hike and overnight stay at Yarra Junction while Owen is off to a party on Saturday.

I'll be playing bowls on Saturday afternoon while Lily has a play date and then it's a quiet night in on Saturday with Owen and Lily before Karen, Patrick and Angus return on Sunday afternoon.

But wait, there's more. The following weekend I'm off to Vic Gathering at Gembrook with the Venturers for a weekend of around the clock action and activities (breaking free of the camp on Saturday afternoon for bowls!) while Karen drives the kids to their sporting and other engagements.

During that next week we have a combined Scouts and Venturers night at Laser Tag with Scouts and Venturers from around the District!

The week after that will see us at the Scout group Xmas BBQ and any number of other social occasions before the final District Venturer Council for 2012 on Friday 14th December.

Then it's time for our migration to Sydney for Xmas and shortly after it will be time to bid farewell to Karen and Patrick as they head to Queensland for Jamboree. Phew! Can't wait. It's great to be busy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Owen's grand final

On Saturday 27th October, Owen contested his first basketball grand final - and his team WON!

In the CR grade grand final his Mountain Tigers team faced off against the All Stars - a team they hadn't beaten during the regular season.

Owen's team finished the regular season 3rd on the ladder and played off for a semi final spot against 4th. They comfortably took care of 4th place only to have the result protested and replayed the match mid-week. They beat their 4th placed opponents by a bigger margin during the replay.

Meanwhile the All Stars, having finished top of the table after the regular season, played 2nd placed Ranges for a place in the grand final and a week off. The game was tied at full time and the All Stars won in overtime.

After playing two elimination finals in a week the boys now faced off against Ranges in the semi. Owen's young team really seemed to take it up a notch in the finals and won against Ranges to book a grand final berth.

Having played 2 less games and having a weeks break, the All Stars were the fresher side. However, the Mountain Tigers were more determined. In a game that was played in a competitive spirit and with the CR grade premiership on the line, the Mountain Tigers were never headed. In a real team effort they took the spoils. Well done boys.

And to show just how well he's doing, Owen was in the starting 5 for the grand final as well. Congratulations little buddy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Caving - part 2

After we had exited our last cave for the day on Saturday, we piled back into the mini-bus for the short trip back to the camp site. Brett did not come caving, choosing instead to take a trip to Hamilton and stay back at camp and get dinner ready.

19 hungry scouts and 2 hungry leaders joined Brett back at the camp and demolished a dinner of spaghetti bolognaise followed by bush donuts and custard. Karen and I had pre-prepared the bolognaise sauce and frozen it before the trip. It was well received.

After cleaning up from dinner it was time for all present to don their uniforms and head underground - into Tunnel cave for 4 of the 1st Upwey scouts to be awarded various badges/awards. The caving team set out a ring of tea-light candles in the cave and all scouts, leaders and caving team members lined the ring for the ceremony. It was a great opportunity to make a big deal out of these awards and one that the kids won't forget. Patrick received his Pioneer level badge and cord. This is a requirement to attend Jamboree and one that he has been working towards all year. Well done buddy!

After that it was back to camp and we set about making a camp fire. Given that we'd had a couple of showers earlier that evening, it wasn't looking promising. The rain stayed away for the rest of the evening and the scouts all gathered around the fire just chatting and having a good time, while the leaders (and the leaders from 6th Melbourne) had a chat and generally just had a relaxing evening. In comparison to the previous evening, we all turned in relatively early on the Saturday.

Sunday morning saw a breakfast of pancakes for the assembled throng. Very nicely done too! After this was all cleaned up it was back to discover more caves before wrapping up in time for lunch and the long road trip back to Upwey.

After a quick lunch at the camp it was time to pack up the tents and all of our belongings and load them into the trailer. One last thing to be done before we bid farewell to the caving team was a closing ceremony where the kids were all presented with their caving proficiency badges and certificates. Another achievement for all of the scouts in attendance.

The caving team were very complimentary about the scouts and their achievements this weekend and encouraged them all to carry on to Venturers and go caving as a Venturer - where you get to abseil into limestone caves! Sounds like a hoot, and I'll be volunteering.

After a final check of the campsite and making sure we'd left no belongings or rubbish behind, it was back onto the bus for the trip home. We arrived at Upwey just after 6pm - about 48 hours since we had departed. It was a very full weekend, but one that the kids thoroughly enjoyed made up of experiences they won't be forgetting in a hurry.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Caving - part 1

Last weekend (20-21 October), Patrick and I jumped in a mini-bus on the Friday night with 18 other Scouts and 1 other Leader and headed west to Mt Eccles National Park. A further leader, Brett, drove up in his own 4WD towing a trailer with all our gear. After an extended stop at Hungry Jacks just outside of Geelong, we finally made it to our camp site a little before midnight. We then had to wrangle 19 kids to put their tents up, stow their gear and go to sleep. Somewhere around 1am, Brett, Tim (the other leader) and I finally got to bed.

The following morning Brett cooked a fantastic breakfast of bacon and French toast for all 22 of us. This was a great way to start the day and provided sustenance for the first part of our caving adventure.

After breakfast we set up a production line for the kids to make their own rolls for lunch. Once this was done and tidied away we were off to meet the caving team for our safety brief.

The caving team are one of the many adventurous activity groups throughout the scouting movement and come from all over the state. Their experience and willingness to share that experience with scouts is part of what makes the whole adventure great. Some of these guys don't belong to a specific scout group - they freely give of their time so scouts can have a caving adventure. And they run these trips one weekend a month for ten months of the year. That's commitment!

Anyway, after our safety brief we were kitted up with helmets and split into three groups. Each group had pretty much the same caves to visit, but on a different timetable.

The first cave my group went in was a pretty easy affair and the kids acclimatised quite well. Through tunnels either crawling, hunched over or sliding on their bellies, they were equally at home underground. And enthusiastic!

After our first cave we took a little walk and settled down close to the cave exit for lunch. We took some time to get to know each other a little more (scouts involved in the weekend came from 1st Upwey, 1st Belgrave South and 6th Melbourne from near Kensington).

After lunch we walked across a small valley and headed to our next cave. All of the caves in this area were formed thousands of years ago from lava flows and are quite rough throughout. No stalactites here!

The caves required a great deal of crawling, sliding, pulling and just stamina to get through. It was an awesome experience.

In our last cave on Saturday, we had made it inside and were relaxing in a cavern. Some of the kids were making noises about wanting to keep going as they wanted to see more of what there was to see. The caving team told us there were two possible exits - one with a slightly longer route (crawling all the way) and a slightly shorter route with crawling and a tight squeeze. The group broke into two and I decided I would try my luck with the squeezier option. After all the kids and our guide were through, it was my turn. I crawled down the tunnel and lay on my belly, with my arms stretched in front, as I entered the squeeze (also referred to as a letterbox). I was wriggling and clawing my way through, getting up to my shoulders through the gap and then I felt like I was stuck! Great. What now?

I called over to our guide, Greg, and told him of my predicament. He told me I was through. My shoulders were past the gap so I should be right to power on through. Good in theory.

I took a few deep breaths, gathered my thoughts and tried again. Brute force and determination pushed me through that hole. Gee it felt good to pop out on the other side! What a rush.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Off and racing

Last night marked the start of the Foresters Venturers unit meeting at Upwey. It was a fun, if quiet, night with 4 Venturers and 3 Leaders in attendance.

We had a games night involving twister and various themes on that classic game. It was great fun.

As we opened the doors to the hall it was a great surprise to see a paper banner covering the doorway to the hall welcoming the Venturers to their new home (and some welcome snacks!). After running through the banner and crossing the threshold to their new home it was down to business - the business of Twister!

Overall it was a successful night and we look forward to the numbers building over coming weeks.

Next week - tent night! Stay tuned.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Royal Melbourne Show

We were fortunate enough to go to the Royal Melbourne Show yesterday. Buying your tickets in advance and taking advantage of some of the offers certainly helped us out. That way we got discounted entry and $80 worth of ride tickets for the kids.

This year we headed to the farmyard nursery earlier in the day and were not confronted by the massive crowds which had turned us off in previous years. Having a few calves, kids and lambs wandering around the assembled throng was a novelty, and I hope the animals weren't too stressed.

The boys enjoyed the roller coaster and log/flume ride the best and Lily enjoyed the jumping castle/slide thingy!

The day after AFL Grand Final day is DEFINITELY the busiest day, but short of taking a days leave I couldn't go any other day - and I wasn't being left behind! And just as we were heading for the car, we detoured via the woodchop stadium to see the last event for the day. I would dearly have loved to see more of the woodchop, but you can't have everything :)

I firmly believe the way to see the show as an adult is to take the kids on one day and leave them at home another day while you go again and see all the things the kids can't be bothered with. Maybe next year.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Roll on summer

I don't normally wish time away, but not having had a break since last summer and not having a break until this coming summer, I can't wait for summer to roll around.

I'm working right up until Xmas Eve so I can take advantage of the leave I have available to me. Then I don't return to work until 30th January. Geez I need a break.

With Karen and Patrick off to Jamboree in Maryborough, Qld on New Years Day, I'm looking forward to taking Angus, Owen and Lily to Wollongong for a few days to go to the beach and maybe even Jamberoo fun park. Oh, and I do get to go bowling for a few days before Karen and Patrick leave! The South Pacific bowls carnival on the NSW South Coast is the biggest bowls carnival going at that time of year - and it draws a great field.

So, while I have to wait, I am looking forward to it - and the 9 days camping at Tidal River (Wilsons Promontory) at the end of January.

Roll on summer...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Flat out weekend

It all begins tomorrow morning with Karen taking Owen and Angus to friends places to spend the morning before being taken to basketball. During that time Karen is going to ARAP (district Scout AGM thingy) and I'm bowling.

Then in the evening I'm running the bar at the club while Karen hosts the kindergarten trivia night fundraiser at the club!

It doesn't stop there. On Sunday it's St Joseph's open day and I'll be taking Angus along for a look while Karen wrangles some scouts at a fundraising bob-a-job for Jamboree.

Hopefully next weekend we can get some time in the garden. Phew!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Time flies

Before we know it, the end of term 3 will be upon us and school holidays mean no drop offs and (for some family members) no need for an early rise.

Patrick has the opportunity to go to Walhalla for 4 days with some scouts in our district - another chance for a pre-Jamboree camp. Angus, Owen and Lily will likely want to see a couple of school holiday movies and Angus and Owen also like to have the occasional sleepover. It never ends!

The end of term 3 also means that start of the bowls pennant season is upon us :)

Friday, August 31, 2012


When you're waiting for a train and get redirected to a bus, you get a sense of frustration.

When you find out that trains are cancelled until further notice because of a fatality on the line, you shrug and think it could be worse!

All things being equal, I'll still get to Bendigo if a little late. Somebody else won't be making it home.

So I'll leave you with that thought and bid you a good weekend. I'm off to play bowls with some mates in Bendigo.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time wasters and Tyre kickers

I continue to be stumped as to why recruitment consultants make contact via LinkedIn or directly and then fail to return your follow up. I can't think of another profession (*cough cough*) where that is an accepted practice.

Similarly, why do organisations advertise/cast the net for positions and then not be willing to pay within generally accepted market ranges commensurate with such experience and positions? If you're not willing to pay for senior experience, don't advertise the role as such and waste peoples time.

Here's a top tip, it will be a cold day in hell before I leave a job for less than I'm currently taking home.

Meet the Venturers

Rather than re-invent the wheel we've got the opportunity to run an existing Venturer unit and bring under the 1st Upwey umbrella. That unit are about to lose their sole leader, so it's pretty timely.

Tonight Ross (my partner-in-crime to be), Ken (our esteemed group leader) and myself have received an invitation to meet the Unit. The first steps in a (hopefully) long journey and I'm looking forward to it.

By the look of it we'll be starting in our leader roles sooner rather than later - most likely the beginning of the next school term. No time like the present :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Venturer Leader training

After having a discussion with the District Venturer Leader and the District Commissioner, 1st Upwey has decided to embark upon the journey of running a Venturer unit! Just how this will occur will become more apparent in the coming weeks, but the first thing we need to do is get some leaders trained up.

Enter...me! I've just completed the online section of my basic training and once I take delivery of the Venturer Scout Handbook in the next few days, I'll be able to complete the Venturer specific component of the online training and get down to business!

One of our Cub Leaders is also going to join me and we're both really excited about the whole she-bang. We'll start visiting local units to see see how they operate and pick the eyes out of their processes and programs. Can't wait.

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Hills Winter

It's such a lovely looking day outside today, it's just a pity we're experiencing it at about 7 deg C at the moment. So I'll just have to make do with looking out of my office window and enjoying the view.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Scouty goodness for everybody - up to 2025!

Scouts are nothing if not prepared, hence the motto - Be Prepared.

With Karen and Patrick heading to the 23rd Australian Jamboree in Maryborough Qld in January 2013, I did a search for the next Venturer Venture and the following Scout Jamboree. Information aplenty!

So here is the list of the triennial Scout Jamborees, Venturer Ventures and Rover Moots from 2010 - 2025.

2010   22nd Australian Jamboree NSW
2011   18th Australian Moot SA
2012   15th Australian Venture TAS
2013   23rd Australian Jamboree QLD
2014   19th Australian Moot WA
2015   16th Australian Venture SA
2016   24th Australian Jamboree NSW
2017   20th Australian Moot VIC
2018   17th Australian Venture QLD
2019   25th Australian Jamboree SA
2020   21st Australian Moot ACT
2021   18th Australian Venture Victoria
2022   26th Australian Jamboree NSW
2023   22nd Australian Moot Queensland
2024   19th Australian Venture ACT
2025   27th Australian Jamboree Victoria

Monday, July 30, 2012

Linux at home

I remember first trying RedHat years ago and it ran like a dog if the machine wasn't super high spec (back in the day).

Since then I've tried various Linux flavours on older PC's and netbooks towards the end of their lives. The one thing that has tended to be the deal breaker is that the family was never that fussed.

Last summer I converted an old windows laptop to Ubuntu 11 while the family was away, and there wasn't anything I couldn't do that I needed to. Out of the box it comes with an open office suite, Firefox browser and plenty of utilities.

The installation process has been dumbed right down from the old RedHat says and I reckon most home handi-geeks to could get it running quick smart.

The one thing that might trip up some people is the need to track down drivers for various things that you take for granted in a windows environment. And some third party installation requires good old fashioned command line interaction. Welcome to 1980 :)

I recently upgraded that laptop to Ubuntu 12 and I'm going to take a crack at getting the family to use it. Wish me luck! In this day and age of windows ubiquity and the proliferation of Apple i devices throughout our house, I may have left my run a bit late.

Anyhow, I'm quite taken by Ubuntu and enjoy the little bit of command line interaction. It's like retro computing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Indoor rock climbing

Cubs had a change of venue last night - Nunawading Indoor Climbing Gym. With a car load of 5 kids (cubs, scouts and siblings) I headed off for a night of belaying and supervision.

The entire group had a ball and generally did better than the previous time they went. Patrick, Angus and Owen seem to have inherited my monkey genes! Patrick really challenged himself last night and did very well. Angus and Owen both showed no fear and scaled vertical walls with ease.

I used to love indoor climbing, but last September when I went with Scouts I hurt my wedding ring finger and only put my wedding ring back on this week. It felt like I'd torn something when it happened and I was so disappointed. Indoor climbing was something I used to do regularly BC. Maybe I'll be able to try it again next time the kids go.

They all had a great (late) night and I was cruising home just after 10pm with a car load of kids. That's how I roll :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back on the bike

Winter has been pretty cold this year. As a result I haven't been riding to work as much as I'd wanted to.

I rode today (and last Thursday) and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Apart from my toes being numb last Thursday, the thermal undershirt Karen suggested I buy on a whim at Anaconda has been great. Couple that with my full finger gloves, long sleeved jersey and long knicks, I've been pretty comfortable.

I think I've probably not ridden as much as I could because I feared it would be worse than it actually was. I think I'll be riding more often for the rest of winter and spring :) And as the days get longer I'll be able ride longer in the evenings. Yay!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mower service

I pulled the mower out this afternoon to start it for Patrick (teenage labour) and it wouldn't start. Off I trundled to the local mower shop and put it in for it's annual/bi-annual/some-annual service. That mower will be around for some time yet.

I don't subscribe to the whole throw-away economy bumph. I paid over $400 for that mower about 10-12 years ago and it hasn't repaid me yet :)

Blades, air and fuel filters, a primer thingy, something else and some labour should see it good to go for another n years.

I'll be buying another bike before I buy a new mower. Priorities!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Metro trains and the Belgrave line

I understand that the public transport network is a large and complex beast. I also understand that the state government foolishly outsourced the management and running of the day-to-day operations several years ago.

What I don't understand is how the current train operators, Metro, can continually fail to mismanage the network and maltreat their customers on a daily basis.

When you manage a rail network that has sections of track running through wooded areas, would it not make sense to proactively trim overhanging branches BEFORE they send an entire line into chaos, REPEATEDLY!?!

When you have a train cancelled for technical reasons and it was due to continue to operate down a branch line, couldn't one of the numerous trains in the siding at the junction be utilised to provide at least part of that service? Especially when you know in advance.

Metro your ineptitude knows no bounds. Victorian state governments and oppositions alike, you should hang your heads in collective shame for allowing this to happen continually. The last contract was a chance to bring public transport back in house, yet you sold us further down the river. You're a disgrace to your constituencies.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

4th Annual Comedy Bowl

For those that have heard of it before, the Comedy Bowl returns to the Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club on Friday 9th November from 6pm. This year we're fortunate to have secured the services of comic Lawrence Mooney. Mime artist Jack Dan will be making a return also.

For those that haven't heard of it, the Comedy Bowl has become the annual fundraising social extravaganza at the Upwey-Tecoma Bowls Club over the last few years. We pack the club with visitors, family and friends for a night of socialising, bowls (very casual), dinner, raffles, auctions and of course comedy.

It's always a great night and it goes a little way to helping the club continue to improve the facilities available to members and guests. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in, drop me a line and I'll hook you up with a ticket.

We aim each year to get 120 people to the event. The closest we've come so far is 115. You never know, you just might make the difference :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Full weekend

With the family in Sydney for the winter school holidays, I had last weekend to myself. What a treat!

Friday after work I headed down to Richmond Union Bowling Club to have a pot with the locals before heading to the Spread Eagle Hotel on Bridge Rd for EOFY drinks courtesy of the work social club. And as a bonus I even scored a lift all the way home from a work colleague!

Saturday was an early start as I joined a mate at Vermont South Bowls Club as he facilitated a pre-season coaching session. Good roll up and it's always nice catching up with the VS crew.

From there it was up to Menzies Creek for a lovely lunch overlooking the Cardinia Reservoir from the decks at Dave and Carmel's. Great afternoon, awesome food and top company.

Saturday night I headed to Etihad Stadium to watch St Kilda smash the Bombers with Franca, in the Medallion Club seats courtesy of work. After such a wonderful day it ended terribly with a public transport SNAFU on the way home. Oh well, that's public transport for you.

An even earlier start on Sunday saw Peter and myself heading to Brighton where we rode the bike path to Port Melbourne and back before enjoying a coffee afterwards. With our ride done and dusted we made it back to Upwey in time to join the Sunday morning crew at the bowls club. After a friendly game of triples it was off home for a rest!

I managed a nap for a couple of hours before dinner, whipped up some dinner then relaxed while watching some tv. Phew! I told you it was a full weekend.

Looking forward to bringing the family home next weekend.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

2012 Le Tour de France

The 2012 TDF looks set to be mired in controversy after todays "leak" in the media that 5 riders have agreed to give evidence against Lance Armstrong in exchange for leniency/suspended sentences. The USADA comes out of this looking like it has a single reason for existence - to prove Lance Armstrong was a drug cheat. This constant hounding after many years does nobody any favours.

One rider I do feel particularly sorry for is Cadel Evans. His lieutenant on the road, big George Hincapie, is one of the riders mentioned today and he's playing a big part in Cadel's defence. Apart from the fact that this is most likely a big distraction to George, Cadel will also feel the repercussions. We've seen in the past how Cadel reacts when the team isn't all pulling in the same direction or things start to spiral out of control. I hope John Lelangue can keep the whole team focussed and make any necessary changes as stages roll by.

Apart from this controversy rearing its head, I'm loving the SBS coverage, especially the nightly wrap-up at 6pm. I plan to spend a bit more time this weekend watching the stages LIVE. One day I'd love to follow the tour and be part of that madness on the roadside. How much fun does that look!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Melbourne airport rail link

Adding thousands of extra private vehicles, hire cars, buses and taxis to the road between Melbourne airport and Melbourne daily makes no sense at all. Especially when those same arterial roads are already at or near capacity.

Melbourne needs, and deserves, a dedicated airport heavy rail link now. Any argument against it on economical grounds is blatant fabrication from the all too powerful transport lobbyists.

Melbourne airport rail link now!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Winter school holidays

We made the annual winter pilgrimage to Sydney yesterday. It was the maiden long distance voyage for the new car as well. That 2.2L turbo diesel just purred up the Hume Hwy, rarely getting past 2,100rpm. With more legroom throughout, it was more comfortable all round. And with more space, and being careful with what we packed, we just attached the bike rack and left the trailer at home! It looks like 70 litres will get us about 900km. Not bad for a bus!

Today we had breakfast at Merrylands bowling club and then spent the day at medieval winterfest at Parramatta Park. There are some interesting characters in those communities. Suits of armour and chain mail all round.

Well it's back to Melbourne tomorrow for me. Early start to get on that big steel bird.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Farewell UUG846

After 124,564km it's time to bid farewell to our trusty Kia Carnival. UUG was the first new car we ever had and was our first people mover, and for the 5 years of our novated lease she served with distinction.

Last Tuesday we took delivery of ZBZ592 - our new Kia Grand Carnival and our trusty steed for the next 5 years. And what a beauty she is!

Out with the short wheelbase and in with the long. Out with the thirsty petrol engine and in with 2200 cubic centimetres of the best turbocharged diesel engineering Korea has to offer. Out with silver, in with platinum. Out with steel rims and in with alloys. I could go on, but you get the picture.

So as a salute to new and old here's a few snaps.

Happy motoring.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New car day

Today Karen took delivery of our new car. It's a 2.2L, 4 cylinder, 6 speed auto diesel Kia Grand Carnival.

The old standard Carnival is off to the auction house just as soon as Kia work out why the check engine light won't go out! 125,000km and now this! Help me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Work lunches

I often take leftovers for lunch, and when there are none it's often the tried and true staple of tuna and tomato toasties.

Sometimes I even cook up a meal especially for work lunches. One of the last ones was a chilli con carne with kangaroo mince. Lovely!

Last night I whipped up a vegetarian curry. I got 4 serves out of and it tastes lovely. So I'll couple this with a flat bread and voila!

Karen's birthday

It was Karen's birthday today. It marks the end of our mid-year family birthday festival beginning in mid-May with Owen, followed by myself, then Patrick at the end of May and Karen today. It's a lot if birthdays in a month.

Dinner was the slow cooked beef casserole we cooked last night followed by a lovely chocolate mud cake from Michel's. Happy birthday sweetheart xoxo

Working from home

Working from home each Monday is a real bonus for me. Having worked from home daily for the 4.5 years before returning to Computershare was great and allowed me to be there when the kids got home and share in different aspects of the kids lives at all different ages.

While it's only one day a week now, I enjoy seeing Lily when she comes home from pre-school at lunch time and taking the boys to swimming lessons in the evening and also helping Karen get the kids off to school in the morning. Having a chat and a cuppa for morning tea with Karen (when she's not busy running around doing pre-school/scouts/kids stuff) is great too :)

It's also great not having to commute one day and just enjoying the extra couple of hours at home with Karen and the kids.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The scouting movement

Last year Angus joined Cub Scouts. This was followed shortly thereafter by Patrick joining Scouts and Karen volunteering to become a Scout Leader. And finally this year, Owen also joined the ranks of the Cub Scouts. 1st Upwey was booming!

About 5 years ago the 1st Upwey Scout group (Cub Scouts and Scouts) was in trouble and almost closed the doors. Fast forward 5 years and it's the biggest group in the Dandenong Ranges with waiting lists (unless you bring a leader). This is fantastic news and speaks volumes about those involved over that period.

The kids get so much out of it and get to use the resources that such a large organisation has. Patrick has done canoeing, welding and blacksmithing at weekend camps this year, all the while enjoying the outdoors and being with some mates. How cool is that.

Angus and Owen have participated in the family camp as well as night hikes, bike hikes and outings to places like Tree Adventures in Belgrave.

None of this could happen without leaders and a committee. The Cub Scouts currently enjoy 5 leaders while Scouts have 3. And given that the movement is now co-ed at all levels, it's great that there are 3 female leaders across the group (including Karen). And it's also great to see that such a great organisation with a rich history is alive and thriving.

January 2013 is Australian Jamboree and it is being held in Maryborough, Qld. Karen and Patrick are both going along with 2 other leaders and 14 other scouts from our troop. 10 days with 12000-15000 scouts and leaders from across the country doing all sorts of activities sounds awesome. I'm sure they'll have a ball.

Historically, some scouts hang around until jamboree and are then lost to girls, part time jobs, cars etc. This happens in all sports and interest groups with kids at that age. The disappointing thing is that Venturers and Rovers exist for youth of that age to continue in and keep building on what they've already learnt and maintain those peer groups and networks as they grow and mature. But with so few (in the past) making that progression, many groups don't have there own Venturers Unit or Rover group. In our area, Venturers and Rovers are largely a district gathering.

At Upwey we have a number of Scouts that will hit the end of their scout age over the next 12-18 months and there are moves afoot to see if we can setup (resurrect) our own Venturer unit. And I've thrown my hat in the ring. I'm sure it will be a big learning curve, but with my amazing wife by my side to guide me with my training I'm sure I'll be able to do it and that we'll be able to juggle our many family commitments.

So anybody reading this out there I'd encourage you to encourage your kids to give it a go. And if you like a bit of adventure yourself, you could do a lot worse than dip your toe in the scouting waters.

From my experiences so far it's a great organisation with loads of support and great people.

If you've got a question, leave a comment.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Long weekend

This Queen's birthday long weekend Dad is coming to visit. As I don't mind getting something for free I entered a competition for tickets to Indie Game:the movie at ACMI. As luck would have it I won a double pass. So now Dad will be heading straight to ACMI and we'll catch a movie.

The movie is a documentary about independent game development and has rave reviews. That's pretty good for a doco. Anyway, I'm looking forward to it.

Also, being a long weekend, there's no kids sport :) Sleep in!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Slack blogger

Patrick complained to me tonight that I haven't updated the blog since last year. So in honour of listening to my eldest son, here's a post for 2012!