Saturday, March 31, 2007

Anniversary Take Two.

We didn't get to go out on the night of our anniversary so tonight's the night. Carolyn is currently getting dressed, trying to decide between clothes for cooler weather. It's not cold but we have long since established that we have different thermostats, in fact I sometimes think Carolyn is poikiothermic.
We're not sure where we're going yet, a gastronomic mystery tour awaits.
Sophie is working so Jordan is supervising Sport Boy, who is watching the football and feeling glad that he wasn't able to change his tip in the Swans/Eagles game (due to technical problems on the website) because West Coast are "spanking" Sydney he tells me.
The Dockers made the most of pre-season premiership favourtism by crashing at home to Port Adelaide this arvo!

I slept in after the taxi shift then went and poked around a couple of garage sales. I found an Airzooka for $5, a true bargain, seriously, if you haven't played with an airzooka you haven't lived! One of the world's truly brilliant inventions. Daniel and Jana's wedding was made especially memorable by the addition of three airzookas at the reception!

I also bought a racing bike for $15. In the modern era mountain bikes have become the standard currency for cycling but the big chunky tyres and heavy frames mean they are built for comfort not speed. The thin tyres and light weight of the racer mean I'll be able to get places quicker when I ride. It has new tyres and pedals too so the $15 price would hardly cover one of those items!

The rest of the afternoon was spent wrestling with the patio roof!!
I'm replacing the fibro lattice which does absolutely nothing to stop the rain, making sections of the pergola useless in the wet season. I've bought the zincalume corrugated iron sheets to replace it but before I can put it up I have to attach battens of varying thickness to the cross beams in order to create a slope so the water will run off when it rains. Hmm!@ Sounds straightforward doesn't it?
Trust me, it's not.
Or I should say, it's not for someone with the low level of technical skills and practicality with my hands that I possess!
There have been attempts, re-attempts, and re-thinks so far! I made a breakthrough late in the afternoon and actually made some progress. With just a little bit of good favour I may get as far as attaching some tin tomorrow.
Or not!

Good news, Carolyn is dressed and ready, I've been summoned, the celebration of 21 years awaits!

Good News and Bad News

The Good news is that the Footy season has started, the AFL is back, yeah. A new season, a new hope, the heady mix of excitement and expectation. Ahh, the footy, the greatest game in the world.

The Bad news is that the Footy season has started! The AFL is back, bringing all it's familiar pains and heartaches! To be a lifelong Geelong fan is to be cursed. The heady mix of expectation being scaled back as the weeks pass, of excitement being tempered with disappointment, of hope being crushed by reality! It's 43 years since the cats tasted success in the BIG one. They have teased and taunted, they have flopped and imploded, they have raised hopes and failed to deliver, they have crushed the dreams of Cat fans for over 40 years!

But! The footy is back and that's cause for celebration in itself.
If Geelong did what they should and won enough games to make the finals I'd be satisfied.

If they did what they can, and won some finals and made a Grand Final I'd be very happy.
If they did what they ought to and delivered on all the promise and potential and won a premiership, I'd be in a state beyond description!
I could just about die happy!

What will happen? No-one knows.
Let the pain begin!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Imagine That!

Well, who would have thought it?

Certainly not anyone whose ever played sport with me, or been to a quiz night with me, or played Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble or any other game with me!

I asked the Dr. last week about testosterone levels and replacment therapy, mainly because our Dr. friend Harvey had spruiked the value of it while we were in Adelaide.

He offered to do a blood test to check my levels if I wanted.

I took the test.

My results came back today and behold and lo! My testosterone level is low, significantly below normal levels in fact, so much so that I qualify for PBS subsidised medication!

I have to have another blood test to verify the figures and then the Dr can give me a prescription.

I wonder what effect it will have?
Theoretically it should bring an increase in energy and a positive impact on my mood or how I feel. I was genuinely surprised when he gave me the results.

Hopefully the treatment will be beneficial.


In other BIG news, 21 years ago today, Carolyn and I were married, in Geelong.

That's a long time.

I'd be lying if I said it's been easy, but despite the hard times, it has been good and we've had a lot of happiness together.

We have four wonderful children of whom we're both very proud.

We've started a new phase of our lives in Busselton.

We've been able to buy a great house and enjoy the fantastic lifestyle of the south west.

We have many friends and enjoy many blessings.

And, in this period following my "depression" of a few weeks ago, I have a more optimistic attitude and a renewed will to work out our problems and improve our relationship.

God brought us together 22 years ago and with his help and strength we'll have another 22 years, and maybe another 22 after that.

God, help us to keep growing in our love and care for each other. Amen.

At Dad and Julie's place in Maryborough on the weekend we went over to tell them we were getting married. It was about 9.00 in the morning and upon hearing the news Julie said, "I need a drink!"

Telling them was a lot easier than the ordeal we went through telling Carolyn's parents!
The next day we went to my Granpparent's 50th wedding anniversary which was very special, not least because Pa died just a few months later.

Some pics of our wedding day which was fantastic.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


The phone rang this morning and to my surprise and delight the voice on the other end belonged to Paul, one of my best friends in the world, calling from his home in San Diego. We haven't spoken for over a year so there was plenty to catch up on and we ended up spending 99 minutes on the phone, I only know this cause I looked at the call time when I hung up.
Paul is one of those friends you have where distance and time make no difference. We just pick up where we left off each time. I think it will always be that way. Sport Boy aka Paul is named after him.

He is thinking about buying a property in North Carolina, 15 acres, 5 old stone cottages, 2 houses, the sort of place he could fix up and run as a camp. It sounds fantastic and he's just the man to do it, he is great at making and fixing things, construction as the Americans call it. The sound of it made me want to jump on a plane and head for North Carolina! One day.


I started this one last night and just finished it tonight, about the same time as Australia defeated the West Indies in the cricket. It's not quite finished, I need to touch up the colours in a few places and tidy it up a little but you get the general idea. It's a little hard to tell but several of the "squares" have patterns or designs in them created with the glue gun. Carolyn says it reminds her of Sorbet.
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Shades of Purple

I painted this last night with the intention of giving it to Jenna and Craig for their wedding present. Jenna told me she likes purple so the colours will be ok. I'm not sure whether to do any more to it or not. Carolyn said it looked better without the light on it when she walked out to the kitchen this morning! A back-handed compliment I think!
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


While we were at the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition Sport Boy did a pretty good impression of Steve Irwin.

I'm easing back into work, not trying to push myself too hard, although there was some strain today when I umpired a football game between some year 9's from Busselton and Forrestfield.
It was the first time I'd run around at all since I hurt my ankle last year. I must have looked like I was struggling because a couple of mates asked me if I was ok during the breaks! Apart from having to send three kids off for fighting it went well. Busselton won very easily.

The rest of the day was spent dealing with bills, insurance, transfers, fringe benefits and repayments!

I skipped my Youthcare meeting tonight so I could look after Sport Boy while Carolyn took Jordan to Margaret River for his rehearsals and Sophie was at work.
When she got home we talked about her plans to travel, where she might like to go, and how much money she's likely to need. I got out the atlas and we talked about Britain, Europe, Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt, South America, the USA, Jamaica and Fiji. Plenty of options amongst that lot.

For the rest of the night I've been painting and watching Australia play the West Indies in the cricket, Matthew Hayden was on fire.
I bought some canvases this afternoon and as I put them in the car a lady commented that she was jealous of me having the time to paint. This led to a discussion of our respective interest in and passion for art and I was amazed to hear her say things that I've either thought or said, about dreaming of one day having a studio and having the time to just paint, of being inspired to create pieces of art when we see all manner of objects, the relaxation that comes when you zone out and paint etc. It was fascinating talking to someone who echoed my feelings and experience of the last 12 months.

Carolyn has made a few suggestions lately of ideas I could try or techniques I could experiment with. I said to her last night, "You should try it yourself." She agreed but then started thinking of reasons not to. I want to encourage her to just have a go and try it. That's what I did and now I'm hooked.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back to Work

Sophie and Sport Boy on her birthday. I have a similar picture taken about 3 years ago of the two of them together and was trying to recreate it here. This one below is not the one I'm referring to but it's similar. They have always been very close and often laugh and play together or have snuggles.

I returned to work today and survived the ordeal. I even managed to get a couple of important things done. A few people were surprised to see me, a rumour had gone around that I wouldn't be back till next term. I could handle that, the time off was very beneficial, but there's work that needs to be done, otherwise if I did delay my return important things would become urgent and my anxiety might increase significantly.

I went to a play put on by the year 12 drama students tonight called "Away". It was quite good, but the most impressive part was how well one particular girl did. She's been a ratbag kid for the last 3 years yet she acted brilliantly tonight, with maturity and composure in a demanding role.

Giant Jenga

After we ate ice cream at Simmos on Sophie's birthday we played Giant Jenga. Sport Boy chose the wrong piece!

Myth Busters Busted

At the Rypen BBQ on Sunday night we tried out the Mentos in a Coke Bottle trick, as featured on MythBusters recently.
You can see the results for yourself.
Singularly unimpressive, but pretty funny.

Half Time in the Basketball Grand Final

Jordy's team won the Basketball Grand Final on Saturday night. Even though he was the smallest and least experienced player on the team the other guys treated him really well and made sure he felt included which made me feel both proud and grateful. They are a group of kids I know well from school, all great kids.
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Monday, March 26, 2007

Rypen Wake

I've just arrived home after my trip to Perth. The Rypen BBQ went really well. I've directed Rypen camps for Rotary for the last 13 years, using an awesome team of volunteer young people who have given an amazing amount of time energy and love to the cause of running these camps for teenagers. The camps have been extremely successful, receiving rave reviews from the kids who come, and have been great fun for us to run as a team.
But, with no explanation or reason given, Rotary decided to dump us as the team to run this year's camp. We are all disappointed, confused and angry about it considering how hard we've worked to run the best camps we possibly could each year.

Despite writing to Rotary asking for an explanation for their decision, we've heard nothing back.
The best we can surmise is that it's politics. It can't be the program because when the new team ran the camp they used our program!
There's nothing we can do about it, it's Rotary's perogative, but we all feel a bit ripped off.

Today's BBQ was a chance for the team to get together for a bit of a wake and final farewell. It was hard to let go after so long.
The good news is that the friendships we've formed via Rypen have grown very strong and we are keen to stay in touch, in fact the Perth based crew already stay in touch regularly, and we decided to have an annual BBQ get together just to make sure it happens.

On a positive note, when I told them about the Cool School Race Camp I run for year 11 students each December they were all really keen to get involved as leaders. That could be a real blessing because one of the biggest hassles I have each year is getting enough staff to run the camp. Using Rypen volunteers will ease the pressure on the school, and the bill for relief staff, a win-win-win situation.

I could have stayed the night in Perth but I felt fairly fresh so decided to come home. The trip went smoothly, with just a stop at Bunbury to stretch my legs and wake myself up sufficiently for the last 50km to Busselton.

I'm going back to work tomorrow, although after a pretty big day I may have trouble getting going first thing in the morning.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Sophie

My beautiful daughter Sophie turned 18 today and to celebrate we went out for lunch to Occy's Brewery at Newtown House. Over a selection of lovely food we reminisced about her earliest memories, childhood experiences, places we've lived and things we've done in her 18 years on the planet. For dessert we headed to Simmos for ice cream in the beautiful surrounds of their lawns and gardens. After the treats I hired a giant game of Jenga which we played on the grass, amidst much laughter and interest from onlookers.
We stopped at a gallery on the way back from Dunsborough before heading home so Sophie could get ready to go to work. It was a really pleasant way to spend a special day and I think Sophie had a great birthday.
We discussed various presents and she decided she liked our offer of getting her her passport best as she has hopes and plans to travel some time in the next 2-3 years.
I gave her one of my paintings for her birthday, one that she and Carolyn both love.
The Heir posted a really touching birthday message for his sister on his blog, follow this link if you'd like to read it.

The bizarre moment of the day came at lunch time when Jordan decided to eat the two prawn's eyes he'd extracted from the discarded shell. Must be something in the dna because his older brother, The Heir, went through a similarly disturbing phase a few years ago, eating all manner of odd things. Some sort of primitive throwback to proving one's manhood perhaps? I don't know.

Jordy had a more rewarding highlight later this evening when his team won their basketball grand final. As the shortest and least experienced player on a very talented, and tall team, he didn't get a lot of court time, but he did give a good account of himself when he got the chance. We all agreed that in the clutch last minute of the game he'd been the one who held the team together enabling them to hold on to win by 17 points!

Daylight saving ends tonight after the first year of a three year trial in WA. Despite the time frame I fear daylight saving is doomed in WA. There has been a huge reactionary outcry of disapproval, fed by the media. I'll just have to make the most of the next two years before the nay-sayers have their way.

I'm going up to Perth tomorrow for a Rypen reunion and wake. The team that I have directed in the running of Roatary's annual Rypen camp for the last 12 years has been relieved of it's duty, for no clear reason. We are getting together one last time to reminisce.
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Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That.

While Carolyn and Sophie set off to spend the day in Margaret River to celebrate Sophie's birthday, she turns 18 tomorrow, I went back to the doctor's to talk about my progress. He was encouraged and mostly satisfied although has not dismissed the possibility that I have depression. I'm feeling better with each passing day and more optimistic and enthused than I have for a long time. I did ask him about testosterone replacement therapy which Harvey (the resident family pain specialist!) had told me about while I was in Adelaide. The Dr had heard of it and was open to the possibility of trying it based on a blood test, so I was despatched next door for said blood test, which was carried out in about 60 seconds with zero pain. I'll get the results next week.

I dropped into the office to check my emails and send off a couple of important ones. I should be back at work next week so other stuff can wait till then.

I then went to the midday screening of the new movie, Babel, which you may recall was nominated for Best Picture in the recent Oscars. It is a very powerful and harrowing film centreing around a Moroccan family who purchase a rifle which is subsequently used to accidently shoot an American tourist. The stories of a Mexican housekeeper and a Japanese schoolgirl are then caught up in the strange web of violence and pain and heartache. It is not an easy film to watch but I'd still highly recommend it, one of the best films I've seen in quite a while.

Picked up the boys from school and delivered them to squash. They are both very enthused about playing squash at the moment which is good.

I dropped round to see my mate Dave at the glass factory to get a couple of pieces cut that I need. We got talking about his business and the difficulty he's been having finding staff. He's got plenty of work but not enough staff to get it done. I offered to give him a hand if would be useful and he jumped at the suggestion so I'll do a few days with him in my "spare time" to help him with a big job he's got coming up.
I bought a big canvas at a great price from Makro. I had to resist the urge not to buy more, not because I didn't want them or that they weren't good value, but because I'd told Carolyn not to spend any money because the credit card has reached it's limit!! I transferred some money to pay it off today but that probably won't clear for a day or two.

I sorted through the various frames and wood for painting on at home and then used my new power saw and Triton work bench to cut and trim them to size. I could grow to enjoy the feeling of using power tools!! My mate Birchy will smile if he reads this! AAAAGGGGHH!!

Then it was off to drive the taxi. I was in the Maxi tonight, the 14 seat mini bus, which always brings with it a different experience! As usual there were the usual groups of part and pub goers heading out early in the night, and the same groups returning home several hours later and considerably worse for wear. I took one group home to Dunsborough and Yallingup and by the time I'd finished dropping the last one off the fare had risen to $82.90!
After a slow start it was a pretty good night in the end which is good news because I'm planning to take Sophie and the family out for lunch tomorrow to celebrate her 18th birthday and the extra cash means we can spoil her a little and go somewhere really nice.

I had an SMS tonight from my good mate Phil asking me to look after a couple of things in the event of his death. Considering he was at the airport awaiting his flight to Afghanistan at the time it's not such a far-fetched request!!! I promised to take care of his requests, but obviously urged him to take the utmost care and do all he could to return home safely. What different lives we all lead. I'm enjoying the safety and serenity of life in Busselton, he's heading off to Kabul for two months, one of the more dangerous locations on the planet. I need to pray for him, and for Julie and their two lovely kids Pieta and Elijah.

Well, it's 4am and the effects of the Vanilla Diet Coke should start wearing off soon and I can get some sleep.
Tomorrow is a big day for my beautiful daughter and I want to be as fresh as possible for it.
I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2007

In the Light

I went away for an overnight campout /retreat last night, to spend some time thinking and praying.
I stayed at Conto campsite near Margaret River, a place I've camped many times in the past with groups of kids and young adults. It was good to go back to some familiar places and think about some of the good times and special experiences I've had there.
After setting up my tent I went down to the beach for a couple of hours. I had a swim, then sat and watched the sun as it made it's slow and steady descent to the horizon. I sat with my journal and noted my thoughts and observations and in particular the coming and going of the light.
One of my favourite songs is called "In the Light" by DC Talk and as I sat there I felt strongly the need to get back to the light of God and to stop playing around in the shadows. It was a powerful metaphor as the bright shimmering sunlight playing on the ocean drew nearer to me then the clouds parted and the sun broke through.
I've been a Christian for over 20 years and without meaning to or wanting to, I realise that I have let slip some of the habits and values that I used to have that helped me in my relationship with God.
Retracing old steps helped me think again about what I've been doing and how that affects how I've been feeling.
I played a Keith Green tape in the car while I was driving and remembered how much I love his music and how strong and clear his songs were, urging people to be faithful in following God.

Back at the campsite I cooked some snags for tea and enjoyed reading by the fire. Is there any better place to be in the world than sitting at a campfire?
Because I'd realised I was seeking a fresh start and a new beginning with God I read the first two chapters of Genesis, the book of beginnings.
I was struck by a verse at the end of chapter 2. "The man and the woman were naked and they were not ashamed".

The beach had been deserted except for a lone fisherman several hundred metres further round so when I swam I went in without my clothes on. I don't know why exactly, it just felt like the right thing to do.
As I read the verse it struck me that that's what I wanted, to be naked before God and not be ashamed. Not just without clothes on, but to be totally vulnerable and open to God, to have my heart and soul bared to him and not feel any shame or guilt, to be freed and released from those negative and destructive feelings.
It felt good to relate to God in that way.

I went to bed pretty early for me, about 10.30, and although I woke up several times from 3.30 onwards, I slept for over 12 hours, also a rarity for me. The Ranger woke me up to collect the camping fees.
When I got up a bus load of kids on a camp had just arrived and the leader came over to introduce himself and check whether their arrival was going to be a problem for me.
It came as no surprise to discover that he was from Scripture Union and the camp was a Warriuka.
Years ago I helped run several Warriuka camps with my mate Laurie and later with Ross and Dave his successors.
I had already been thinking about some of the camps we'd run at Margaret River and how great they had been and how much I'd felt used by God to share the gospel with teenagers.
On this trip of fresh starts I don't think it was any coincidence that I crossed paths with a Warriuka camp.

After packing up I spent the last few hours down at another beach marvelling at the mighty power of the waves as they crashed time and time again over the huge rocks around the little bay at The Point, just south of Conto's.

I feel refreshed and renewed. I've got a long way to go but I feel like I have started the journey, and it feels good.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


It's late.

Sport Boy has only just settled down and gone back to sleep after a couple of hours of pain and discomfort with a tummy ache. Sophie comforted him for quite a while and he eventually succumbed to the sandman.

Sophie drove me to Dunsborough today for my Dr's appointment. The Doc spent extra time with me, had good insights, made some good suggestions and referred me to a good counselor.
He's of the opinion that I don't need medication. I'd thought the same. Got stuff to work on, alone and together.

After the Dr. we went for a drive to visit a couple of galleries and saw some great art work before headinh home. Sophie's driving is getting better all the time. I'm not sure she's ready to pass her test yet but she's getting closer. It's her 18th birthday on Saturday. Wow!

Carolyn and I went to a movie, Tuesday night being cheap night. We both enjoyed the film, "Music and Lyrics" (Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore). It was pop and nonsense but well written and acted and a feel good film.

I spent the rest of the night adding countless layers and colours to a painting I've been working on, trying to get it "right". Not as easy as it sounds, or than I anticipated. It's close, but probably not quite there yet.

Stu is taking me out for breakfast in the morning so I'd better get some sleep before then!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Not even a spoon full of sugar.....

I had another bad experience tonight, but a different sort of one than happened last week.
The strange thing about what happened tonight was that it illuminated something that I haven't seen before in myself, or perhaps I have not been prepared to look at or acknowledge.
It was unpleasant, but perhaps it will help me in the long run, I don't know. That will depend on whether I remember and apply it.

Setting the context.

I am often frustrated by things, especially things that I think can be improved if people will change, a decision, an action, a rule, whatever it may be. When I pause to think about it there have probably been so many of these instances that I just accept them as normal.
(Think Vanilla Diet Coke!!)

When they're boiled down, what they reveal is that I want things done my way.
Not for my ego's sake, but because I truly believe in what I'm suggesting or trying to do.
I'm sure ego gets in there somewhere, but most times it's about injustice or inefficiency or trying to improve something.

Strangely enough, people don't readily agree to change, or even agree.

What then follows is my becoming more animated or strident, trying to convince whoever it is of whatever it is.

Surprise surprise, they don't just say, "Yeah, good idea Marcus, let's do that".
Instead they become defensive and tension develops.

So what's the problem, why is this happening?

Are my ideas bad?
I don't think so, at least not all of them.

Tonight it was about relaxing a couple of rules at volleyball so that people wouldn't be penalised if they didn't have the right shirt on for a game or be forced to forfeit if they are one player short. Not earth shattering stuff I admit, but even these "reasonable suggestions" were met with great resistance and eventually defeated.

There were other issues too. One was passed, one was adjusted and partially passed, but throughout the process there was increasing tension and dissatisfaction in the room, all emenating from me or the process I had initiated!!

That did not feel good! For me or them.

My problem is that if I feel something is right I argue for it and have trouble letting it go. Hopefully you believe me when I say I don't go looking for fights, I don't try to deliberately antagonise people, but it happens too often for it to be a coincidence. I seem to be the common denominator!

So, what do I conclude from reflecting on this incident?

That even when people think there is merit in my ideas they are put off by my actions or attitudes!!
There is something in the way I say or do things that bothers people! (Oh yeah! This reflecting and seeking for self-awareness is great fun!!!!)

In case you're thinking that I should add paranoia to possible depression, this is coming from the horse's mouths! I stayed after the meeting to talk it over with two of the committee members and they both told me exactly how they felt and how I made them feel!!
Just what I needed! People telling me what I did bothered and annoyed them!!
Just as well I'm not fragile at the moment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, it was a dawning moment, an insight that I hadn't seen or had refused to see about myself.
It is possible to be right and wrong at the same time!
To say the right thing in the wrong way.
To hurt people even though I'm trying to help!!! (Oh how much of this joyous revelation can I stand?!!!)

In a perfect world I'd say I'm a changed man and everything was put to right, but I'm not and it wasn't.


The light clicked on. I saw myself differently. I didn't like it. I stopped arguing. I apologised. I went home. I did not feel good.

I still think I was right but that doesn't matter because I hurt people in the process and that's not worth it.
I need to change.
I can't keep doing that.
Not to strangers and acquaintenances, and not to my family and friends.

I told Carolyn about it when I got home.

"I've been telling you that for years" she replied with only the slightest trace of an "I told you so" tone.


I wasn't listening,
I did not know how,
perhaps I'll listen now!

This is another one of those posts that seemed to have a mind of it's own.
It's honest.
It's embarrassing.
It's uncomfortable.

Therefore it's probably exactly what I needed.
No doubt it is good for me!
I daresay God is nodding in agreement right now!
Pass the god liver oil!!!!!!!!!

NB For those tempted to add a comment, please refrain from adding any "I told you so" or "That reminds me" stories, I don't need too much more reinforcement of this particular lesson!

Having said that, I do appreciate the comments and messages of support I've received.

PS. Here's some ironic humour for you. I just checked my diary and noticed that today was the first day of "Harmony Week"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Weekend Wrap

Last night we went to a quiz night where I faced the dilemma of having inadvertently said yes to two different teams. Carolyn and I had discussed one of us going with each team. Feeling bad about letting either team down I decided to stay with Carolyn and the original team, Sonia's table, and apologised to my mate Al for letting him down. I had rung earlier and left a message so they knew it was likely.
We made a slow start and were well off the pace after the first two rounds but then picked up our form and came back into contention, eventually tieing for 3rd and 4th pla
It went to a 5 question tie breaker.
Still tied.
A further 3 question tie breaker.

Still tied.
Finally it was settled with a toss of the coin, and we lost!

Al's team?

They came first!

I was on roster at the Gallery this afternoon, where I completed one painting and made major changes to another which has been hanging in the gallery for a few months. It looks better now but still needs a little more work before it is "fi
nished" for the second time. When I got home Carolyn and I drove down to Meelup for a swim. The sky had gone grey and light rain started which was enough to disuade me from swimming but Carolyn still went in. I sat on the sand and talked to Aussie and his two daughters who were the only other family who ventured down there this evening. Meelup is such a beautiful spot it was a pleasure just to sit there for a couple of hours looking at the horizon and the clouds and the still ocean with it's many changing colours. We picked up some fish and chips for tea on the way home.

Apart from a headache I'm feeling better again than I have been. I'
m still going to have time off work this week, see the Dr, and take some time out, hopefully all of which will be therapeutic.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

That's All Folks

Progress Report

The Tunnel at the end of the light.

The only thing wrong with telling the world how you're really feeling on your blog is that the world might actually read it! And then start calling and emailing and texting and telling other people to read your blog etc!

The last couple of days several people have been in touch one way or another expressing their concern.

Thank you.

I'm feeling slightly like a goldfish who put up an "Open House" sign on the side of my bowl!

Today was a bit better again.

I saw the Dr this morning who thinks I have depression.
I'm not so sure although I am sure that I felt worse over the last week than I ever have before.

It's a little chicken and eggish, "Am I depressed and that makes me feel bad about things in my life?" or "Do I feel bad about things in my life and that makes me depressed?"

I'm seeing him again next week, in the meantime he's given me a book to read on the subject. (Should I have told him that reading non-fiction depresses me?) (I must be feeling better, cracking little depression jokes!)

My supervisor has called
me a couple of times and strongly encouraged me to take some time off work. She checked and worked out that I have about 15 weeks of unused sick leave so I can afford to take a week off!

My pastor came to see me today because a certain descendent sent him a text asking him to check how I'm going. He had some really good insights and suggestions. Consequently I'll probably go away for a couple of days next week to do some thinking and praying.

A mate rang from Perth.
A brother-in-law rang from Adelaide.
A cyber buddy sent encouraging messages.
My chairperson sent me the words to a wonderful hymn I'd never heard but which really spoke to my situation.
It's all happening here folks!!

What's really interesting is how many people have commented that they know how I feel or that they've been through
something similar. I know depression is increasing but it is quite amazing to hear how many people have been affected by it.
As I said, I don't know if I have depression or not, sitting here now it doesn't seem like it to me, but in reading the literature I was putting lots of mental ticks against things described as signs and symptons.

Taking some time off will be helpful, if for no other reason than it will give me some time to think and sort through things and try to find solutions to some of the things that are consiste
nt stumbling blocks for me.

I need to get it sorted out before the footy season starts and following Geelong sends me into another tail-spin nose-dive!!!

I feel an odd mixture of feelings, gratitude for people's concern and embarrassment at all the attention.

A few more pics from Sculptures by the Sea.
I found out today that my mate Cameron's cousin made this "Sea Anenome" sculpture, along with 2 other similar ones that are part of the exhibition. Very cool!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Slight Improvement

The last few days have not been very good but I am feeling a little better tonight. Thank you to the people who have left comments and other messages and phone calls offering best wishes, I appreciate it. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and depending on what he says may take a few days off. I oscillate between feeling completely flat and empty, and feeling like things are pretty normal, but I have almost no energy or enthusiasm at work. I spent some time talking to a friend today who is a counsellor and it was helpful to open up a bit which is perhaps why I feel a little better tonight. I find it pretty difficult to talk about my feelings. I did some painting tonight for the first time in over a week.

On Sunday night before we came home we went to a fantastic exhibition at Cottesloe Beach called "Sculptures by the Sea". It's only on until March 18 so if you're in Perth I highly recommend you get down to the beach and see it. I've put a link to my photos of it on a web album on the top of the sidebar, and on my art blog; it's well worth a look.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Original Holt Family

Jenna's Wedding provided a unique opportunity to get some photos of the four original Holt children with Mum and Dad, the first time we've all been together for a very long time, possibly as long as 15 years, I don't know, maybe even longer. Mum suggested that there may not be any photos ever taken of the 6 of us all together, again, I don't know, but I don't remember seeing any. Mum and Dad separated in 1970 when I was 9 years old.
Vicki-47, Alan-49, Bruce-43, Me (Marcus)-45, enjoying some funny moments at the wedding on Saturday. Bruce was in good form, entertaining us with a cartoon style jig at the end of the photo session which I will You Tube soon. His own marriage to Jane ended recently which has been very sad so it was good to see him in good spirits, it seems as if he is starting to move on a bit.
The Patriarch, our Dad, Peter-70, and the Matriarch, Mum-69 and their 4 kids.
With Mum. She lives in Bridgetown with her husband Walter, who is nick-named Number 3 or "Poor Walter".
With Dad who lives in Gympie in Queensland, a long way away from the rest of the family.

I am a big fan of family photos and generational photos so was glad we had the chance to take these pictures on the weekend. Weddings and funerals are good for family reunions and we usually have a pretty good time when we get together. With the various members so spread out around the country it doesn't happen all that often. Alan and Bruce live in Perth, we live in Busselton and Vicki lives at Wudinna in South Australia with her husband Rex.
We have a half-sister Shannon who lives in Gippsland Victoria with her husband Neil.

Jenna is the 4th of my nieces and nephews to get married. We have four children of our own, ranging from 19 to 9 so these last couple of weeks have been a taste of what's ahead for us somewhere in the future. Neither Zachariah or Sophie are showing any signs or inclinations towards marriage yet, and I won't be in any hurry for them to make such a big decision, but it's obviously closer now than it ever has been.

Marriage and parenthood are the two hardest things I've ever done, and they don't stop. We spend our lives trying to prepare the next generation for the passing of the baton, hoping that they will do a better job than we have and that they will not repeat the same mistakes we've made.
I have struggled so much with both responsibilities and don't feel satisfied with my performance in either. My kids are great and I love them dearly and am proud of them, but there have been many times when I wish I'd done a better job. There are many things I would change if I could.

I pray that each of them will have more peace and joy in their lives than I have and not be too scarred from the things I have done that have hurt them and let them down.

I am obviously in a reflective and sombre mood. I have not been happy lately and have not been coping with life as well as I'd like. I've lost energy and enthusiasm for things that in the past have made me excited and motivated. I'm not as happy at work as I used to be. The stresses of everyday life, paying the bills, maintaining the family etc have become more difficult.
I have begun to wonder if I am depressed. I have had dark thoughts and difficult times.

This is the most honest and vulnerable I have ever been on my blog and I'm not even sure I will publish this post. I wonder if I need a break. Or a change? I have been pinning some hope on taking long service leave in 3rd term and have dreamt of travelling or doing something special during that 14 week period but my enthusiasm and confidence are diminishing and I'm starting to think I will probably just stay home and sleep. I'd like to think I could keep developing my painting but I've even lost motivation for that in the last few days.

Despite the fun of the family reunion and celebration on the weekend, Saturday was a very difficult day with major conflict occurring and a huge roller-coaster of emotion, frustration, anger, disappointment and hurt. I found myself needing to withdraw and be alone, uncomfortable and unable to be around people, not even my family. I remember many times in my childhood and adolescence when I felt similarly and needed to be on my own, struggling to communicate or be open about my feelings. People say I sulk. Maybe I do but I know that once I get to a certain point I feel crippled inside, unable to interact or discuss how I feel, bound up by tensions and pains that chew me up.
I take a long time to recover, I don't bounce back quickly, I stew over stuff, beat myself up, feel guilty and condemned and do 1000's of head miles replaying scenes and conversations over and over, repeating the same mistakes, committing the same sins, hurting people I want to love and feeling progressively worse.

Many of these negative feelings and actions are exacerbated in my mind because of the things I believe and the profession I've chosen. As a Christian of 20+ years and as a chaplain, I can't escape from the nagging voice that says I should be better than this, I should have it more together, I shouldn't be making the same mistakes and committing the same sins that entangle me and drag me down. There is a level of guilt and frustration that accompanies being a "professional and public Christian". The world has clear expectations of how someone like me should behave, and whether those expectations are fair or reasonable does not diminish the feelings of inadequacy when I fail to measure up, as I invariably do. Then there are my own expectations, that I should be a better person than I am, a better husband, a better father etc etc.

In my head I know, understand, and accept the gospel and feel huge relief and gratitude in the knowledge that Jesus has paid the price for me, saved me from the punishments for my sins, and given me the certain promise of forgiveness and eternal life. I trust God. I believe Him. I know I belong to Him. I don't doubt my salvation.
But, I live with a constant sense of dissatisfaction at not being able to be truly free of the things that trap me and injure me and my family. I often feel frustrated. I am not the person I want to be.
And of late I have felt more like giving up than going on.

I know giving up is not the best way to face things and life has ups and downs, this season of my life may pass soon and I will be full of hope and enthusiasm again, but the feelings are real and remain. I feel like giving up. I feel defeated. I feel empty. I feel drained. I feel like I am losing.

The more I write the more reluctant I become to publish this, but at the same time, there is a feeling of wanting to let my guard down, of not trying to pretend everything is ok and putting on a brave face. I can't do it in real life, why should I do it on my blog. I'm scared of the vulnerability it would bring. I've never pretended to be perfect or to have it all together but nor have I been keen to reveal my struggles and insecurities. Who wants others to know how weak we are or how fragile or unreliable or dishonest or unpleasant?
I keep things hidden. I don't reveal my inner-most world readily. Very few people know the real me, at my deepest levels.
It's probably just as well because there is a lot there to repel people.
Thank God that God doesn't reject me or disown me because of my sins. Amazingly, he embraces me and promises me freedom and redemption from them because of what Jesus did when he died on the cross.
Thank God for Jesus, truly my only hope.

God, help me please.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Craig and Jenna's Wedding

We've just gotten home from a very busy weekend in Perth for my niece's wedding. She looked beautiful and the wedding was lovely, with lots of family and friends there to celebrate with them.
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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Busso Beach Carnival

It was beach carnival today for the high school, the best day of the year. The best part of 1000 kids spending the day running, swimming and playing games on the beach, it doesn't get much better than that.
At lunch time I rounded up as many kids as I could find who weren't competing in anything and asked them to help me with a special photograph. It took a little bit of convincing but they managed to cooperate and choreograph successfully to spell out "BUSSO". I took the pictures from the top of The Nautical Lady, the lighthouse cum waterslide that overlooks the beach and is actually the highest point in Busselton.
The results were pleasingly effective.

I've jus finished my shift in the cab and we are going to Perth tomorrow for Jenna and Craig's wedding so I need to get to bed and hopefully get sufficient sleep to stay awake for the drive, and the ceremony!

Dad has left for Perth already and is staying the night at Bruce's.

I convinced Vicki and Rex to stay another night in Busselton and they along with Mum and Walter will be leaving earlier in the morning than us. Hair appointments await!
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Friday, March 09, 2007

Jeanette and Keith

Carolyn's birthday dinner featured mainly family members but it was great to also have a couple of her friends join us. Keith and Jeanette are great fun, and I have it on good authority that Jeanette is one of my most faithful readers!
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Keith, Dreaming of the days when he had hair

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Enjoying the Moment

Vicki and Rex left from Wudinna yesterday and arrived about an hour and a half before we were due to leave for dinner so they were pretty tired. They still managed to enjoy the night but are in bed now and hopefully will get a really good sleep.
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Happy Birthday Dear Carolyn

L-R Walter, Keith & Jeanette, Mum, Carolyn, Vicki, Rex, Sport Boy, Sophie and Dad (Click on the pic to enlarge if you want)

Today was Carolyn's birthday. I can't divulge her age, on pain of death, or worse, but she is a child of the 60's and has decided that she likes 45 and is therefore going to be 45 every birthday from now on.
In honour of her milestone I invited family members from 3 states to come and celebrate the occasion. We chose Margaret River so that Jordan could attend before going to his drama rehearsals. It was a good meal, followed by coffee and birthday cake back at home.
I gave her a slumped glass bowl featuring seashell designs which she has admired in the past. Dad gave her an electric planer!

I spent some time today getting things ready for the "Modified" Art Exhibition at Art Geo that opens tomorrow night. I did a new piece called "Caged" to go along with my Recycled Microwave and Weatherdashboard pieces. I helped Helena the Gallery Manager to set up a few of the exhibits, including some fantastic pieces by Paul Hole, my favourite being the biggest Swiss Army Knife you've ever seen.
Then as I was leaving I got a call from my new mate Ron to say he'd finished the car and it was ready to exhibit. I was stoked because I really thought he wasn't going to get it done in time. I offered to pick it up and take it to the gallery for him and recruited Dad to give me a hand. It looks great now that he's put the aero foil on top.
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Thursday, March 08, 2007


Heading for Wudinna from Port Augusta on the 2nd stage of our trip home; 4 hours down, 31 to go.
Just as well Dad and I get along very well!
Wudinna is where Vicki and Rex live.
In my previous life I have spent a great many hours sitting on the roadside at this sign trying to thumb a lift to Vicki's place. I have hitch-hiked across the Nullabor 7-8 times and this sign is at the junction of the Eyre Highway and the road to Whyalla. This is the last major turn-off before you hit the road for Western Australia. It's invariably hot and a long wait on the side of the road can be pretty uncomfortable. One night I "slept" in the bush on the side of the road, jumping up each time a car or truck approached in the vain hope of getting a lift. I finally got a ride early the next morning. It's only about 2000km from here to home!
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Heading for Wudinna from Port Augusta, 4 hours down, 31 to go!
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For Vicki

When we got back to the unit on Saturday night I worked on another picture which I gave to my sister. I don't think she liked it very much! But we hung it on the wall of the unit and it looked OK. I guess I'll have to wait and ee what fate awaits it, if it's in the dunny next time I visit I'll know how it's rated!
I only took a limited range of colours with me which affected how they looked but I like the design concept and will do some more in a similar style.
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Sculpture at Glenelg

From memory this is called "Rhythm". Glenelg is a palindrome by the way, and not only that, it's spelt the same backwards as forwards. I went for a walk down to the beach and had a look at a few of the shops.
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