Saturday, June 30, 2007

Time is Running Out Fast

I'm feeling a little anxious; time is running out. There's only 33 hours until I leave for three weeks away, the first week in Perth for Country Week and the next two in Melbourne for a footy pilgrimage and I haven't packed or got things ready, and I've still got another taxi shift to do tomorrow night! Plus there's Sport Boy's soccer game tomorrow and the Geelong v Sydney game on tv tomorrow afternoon!
I spent another hectic day finishing off the Country Week prep at school today and got 98% of it done. It's going to be a busy and intense period, both this weekend and the next three weeks.
The good news is that my long service leave starts at the end of next week so I will have some time to rest and recuperate once I get back.

Friday, June 29, 2007

3 More Sleeps

The days are getting very hectic trying to make sure everything is ready for Country Week.
On Sunday we leave for 6 days in Perth with 147 kids and 14 staff and invariably there are challenges and changes to deal with constantly. Yesterday there were $9,000 in unpaid fees, today it was down to $3000, the threat of not being allowed on the bus unless fees are paid in full did the trick! By tomorrow I expect it to be down to just a couple of hundred.

We had a Country Week Assembly today to farewell the team, announce team captains etc. It was a very frustrating experience. There were many other certificates to hand out and students to recognise for excellent academic achievements which is great, but it was so slow and ponderous and inefficient that the assembly ran 20 minutes into lunchtime!!!! By the time I spoke, 2nd last on the program I was so conscious of the over-run and the restlessness of the kids who'd been sitting on the wooden floor of the gym for over an hour that I raced through it at about 200 km/ph.
I find that sort of poor performance and lack of understanding very trying of my patience, which comes in a very small bottle at the best of times!!

I was working on CW stuff right up until 6.30 then raced up to volleyball to do refereeing duty only to find the rest of the team had got there first and had it covered so I went back to the office to keep working. Unfortunately I neglected to turn my lights off when I got out of the car. They were still on when I came out an hour later and I thought it wouldn't be a big problem, but it was! The battery was dead as a doornail! My volleyball game was about to start! Instead of being an hour early I ended up being 10 minutes late! More frustration!
On a happier note, we won 3-0.
I'll have to collect the car in the morning. It will cause some mild consternation for those who get there early, it's parked in the Deputy Principal's parking spot!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Getting Closer

The countdown to Country Week is well past the point of no return and things are getting hectic. Lots of details to finalise. My head was spinning today. Only 4 more sleeps till we board the buses.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The "Lost" Boys

I spent today helping Patesy, one of the phys eders, with his hiking camp. I just had to accompany a small group as they navigated through the bush on a 15km hike.

The day started out normally enough as Patesy pointed out the route they were meant to take to the boys on today's hike through the Boranup forest south of Maragret River.

Once on the track the boys got into the spirit of the occasion and despite the overcast, later to become wet, very wet, weather, shed their shirts. With little sun tan action likely this was presumably for effect and macho points. It did emphasise the status of their low-slung jeans and exposed undies, my favourite fashion faux-pas!
One of the boys set about constructing a weapon, as you do when you're out in the bush, and managed to fashion quite a reasonable looking bow and arrow. Even when the bow snapped in the firing of the second arrow he was not deterred and set about strengthening it with the ubiquitous black pvc tape. I'm confident no native animals were in any danger but he was suitably proud of his efforts.It rained heavily as we approached the Point Rd campsite, from where we had about a 1.5 km hike to the finish at Contos Campsite. The last part is very steep, affording a good view of the valley and anyone approaching on the track. The group became separated in the rain and when we got to Contos, the 4 intrepid hikers had not arrived.Patesy and I went to see if we could see them but they didn't show up. Patesy was a little concerned which is fair enough but I felt reasonably confident, they'd been navigating with the map and compass all day and done a good job. Still, their non-appearance required action so I set off in the car to see if they'd gone the wrong way on Point Rd.

The start of Point Rd is VERY rocky and a previous attempt to drive on it a couple of months ago had failed, however this time the stakes were a little higher and I persevered, managing to get through the worst of it and head up the track in search of the lost boys.

Sure enough, there they were, about 3km up, heading in the wrong direction (toward the coast) having by their own admission tried three out of the four available directions at the critical junction, all of them wrong!! I loaded them into the car and drove them back to the correct position and pointed them in the right direction, and they set off on the last leg of their journey, insisting that I not tell anyone I'd found them and "helped" them! Don't worry boys, your secret is safe with me.


I'm addicted to Scrabble at the moment, computer Scrabble that is, and it's a painful addiction because I lose a lot more than I win! The problem is I play against "Professor Maven" the computer's resident Scrabble genius. I have a choice at what level I can set the proffessor to play and therein lies the dilemma. If I set him at Advanced I win pretty easily so I set him at Expert, and he usually kicks my butt! The scary thing is he has another level to go to but I haven't been game to take him on at Champion level! All is not lost though, according to the computer's records I have a winning percentage of between 25% and 28%. Each win is hard fought and precious.
Tomorrow night is Scrabble Club with the old ladies and they are going to cop some Professor Maven inspired pounding!!

With less than a week to go until Country Week I'm working hard to make sure everything is ready. Most things are coming together but there are always new dilemmas to deal with, for instance, today the caterer rang me with the bad news that her regular supplier has refused to make lamingtons this year and no-one else is willing to step into the breach!! We're not talking puny supermarket sized lamingtons here, these were mega-jumbo sized chocolate and coconut monsters, almost a meal in themselves! Country Week will not be the same without them, although it's not all bad news; there will be a choice of 4 replacements, including one of my all-time favourites, chocolate hedgehog slice!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Oh When the Saints...

Geelong didn't even play this weekend but still managed to go further clear at the top of the ladder courtesy of the Eagles losing to St Kilda! Carn the Cats. Mum and Walter are here for the night, it's good to see them after their time away.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


In a gut-wrenching display of will powerI dragged myself out of bed this morning to get to soccer on time. The late taxi shift-early soccer combo is not a favourite at Holt Press. The weather has been filthy the last couple of days but thankfully the rain held off until five minutes after our game finished this morning. It would have quickly degenerated into water polo otherwise. The wind blew a gale against us in the first half, then mysteriously dissipated to a gentle breeze when it was our turn in the second half! It was a close exciting game, Cornerstone led 1-0, then fell 2-1 behind before staging a great recovery in the second half to win 3-2. Sport Boy was excellent again, playing both defense and attack.

I did a few jobs and errands, including exchanging a couple of tops that the family gave me for my birthday. Sadly they under-estimated my size as they were both too small. I ended up getting 4 new tops in the exchange but had to pay some extra, for my own birthday present!

I slept for a couple of hours this arvo before heading off for tonight's taxi shift. I drove the bus tonight and had some stark contrast between the various groups of passengers. Two hockey teams were great fun, very friendly and chatty and amusing; I took one group to Margaret River then went back for them a few hours later. Less pleasant was the group of young women all dolled up and loaded with bottles of booze and low-cut tops who quickly degenerated into foul language and bitchiness when they realised that their looks weren't going to earn them any short-cuts or discounts! One of them complained that I had turned the meter on too soon and another actually said "But we're sexy!" as if that was some sort of valid reason for them not to pay a legitimate fare!

I'm looking forward to a proper sleep-in tomorrow. I'm on roster at the gallery in the afternoon and then Mum and Walter are coming to visit in honour of my birthday now that they are home again from their trip east.

Friday, June 22, 2007

One of the most unusual birthday presents I've ever received

I'm a little vexed with Blogger tonight, I posted several pictures from the hike and a description of one of my birthday presents but out of all of them, only one has appeared on the blog!
It's funny how much harder it is to post something a second time! Especially if you put a bit of extra time and thought into the original and then it disappears without trace or reason!

I'll just try one more time with this post.

Their Hiking and Cooking was Impressive

It was the misbehaviour when they weren't busy and active that was wearing.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The YWAM Crew

Wearing the BSHS Tops I gave them as a thank you and memnto of their visit to Busselton (courtesy of the lost property box which always ends up being given to me!!) Part of the territory!
Posted by Picasa

Happy Mid-Life Crisis to Me

After two days away on the hike I had plenty to catch up on at work and I wasn't moving very fast, my legs are sore and stiff. I'll be 46 tomorrow and I'm feeling every bit of it right now, fast approaching my use by date in fact!

Apart from Country Week tasks I also had to make arrangements to move our fish.
You may remember the fish sculpture I helped to buy after the Commonwealth Games?
For a variety of reasons the project has stalled and the place where it has been stored can no longer accommodate it and have been hassling me to come and get it! No easy feat considering said fish is 7 metres long and weighs around 300kg!
I called Aussie, a friend from church who has a truck with a crane and he's going to come and pick it up tomorrow morning. From there we need to get it into the art compound at school. There's space for it but lifting it over the brick wall will be tricky.
Hopoefully we'll get it done without damaging the fish or the school. From there we still need to do some work on it to prepare it for installation, AND convince the shire to allow us to put it somewhere prominent in town. Perhaps with my long service coming up next term I can devote some time to the project and see it to completion.


Serious Blogging Ahead!
I started writing and next thing I knew I was exposing more of my thoughts and feelings than usual and feeling nervous as a result. Vulnerability Rating: High

I saw my therapist again this afternoon and from the tests she's done and her observations it seems pretty clear I have depression. I'll continue with the counselling but may also reconsider medication as an option. I have good days and bad days but of late the bad days are winning and I don't have the strength or emotional reserves to cope. I spend a lot of time struggling with my internal world, unable to function at the sort of levels I'm used to or expect.
This remains a difficult subject for me, it has taken me a very long time to even get to this point and acknowledge I need help. My usual strategy is to withdraw and close down emotionally and hope that it passes. No prizes for working out that's not a very effective strategy! Talking about it isn't easy but it is preferable to continuing the unhelpful patterns of the past.
I'm not a very forgiving person, and that lack of forgiveness extends to myself. When I fall I tend to follow it up with a good beating which keeps me down longer and makes it a real struggle to get up again. Maybe my expectations of myself are too high, or maybe I just don't have the capacity I thought I did. Hopefully therapy will help me work some of this stuff out and find ways to improve my coping skills.
A bit of extra "happiness" as a side effect wouldn't go astray either.

You are now exiting the Vulnerability Zone!

I don't often post other people's stuff but I got some great puns given to me today and as I'm very fond of a pun myself I can't resist posting a few here.

Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much but the reception was fantastic.

A jumper cable walked into a bar and asked for a drink. The bartender said "OK, but don't start anything!"

Two peanuts walked into a bar, one was a salted.

A dyslexic man walked into a bra.

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says, "A beer please, and one for the road".

There'll be more tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Home and Wrecked

I'm home.

I'm sore and tired.

I'm physically and emotionally drained.

I've just spent an hour soaking in a hot bath to help my aching muscles.

As predicted the hike was hard work, 22km in 2 days with a few testing hills along the way.

But the hardest work was dealing with the kids.

Several were pretty well behaved and easy to get along with but a small group were loud, rude, crude, obnoxious, anti-social and unaware. As I stared up at the stars amongst the trees late last night after chastising the group of boys I was supervising in yet another vain attempt to get them into bed, settled and quiet and not throwing things or abuse at one another I wondered what hell is like?
I'm fairly certain it was worse than the experience I was going through but it didn't feel like it.
When one of the boys called me an obscene name I saw red and blew my top at him.
It wasn't good, it wasn't funny, it was just stressful and frustrating.

Thankfully they eventually settled down and actually slept.
I had to laugh to myself when one of them complained that my noise and snoring disturbed his sleep!!

The walk back today was done under time pressure which meant pushing myself harder than I'm used to and thus I'm paying the price physically. We made it back just in time for the kids to get their buses home.

On the positive side the bush was beautiful, the countryside was green and fresh and we walked through some truly picturesque places as we followed the Donnelly River. There was an abundance of interesting mushrooms, toadstools and related fungi of many different colours shapes and sizes. We crossed bridges of fallen logs covered in moss, through dense bush and towering Karri trees, and drank cold fresh water straight from the river and streams.
We started and finished at One Tree Bridge on the road to Pemberton and it is well worth a visit if you're ever in the area.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Holt Press All Sports Update

The Cats had another good win this afternoon, beating Brisbane by 50 points to stay top of the AFL ladder. Gotta be happy with that. Sport Boy and I went to the Esplanade to watch the second half over a lemon squash and dessert.
I then had to hurry in to the art gallery for my afternoon roster!In a couple of hours Aaron Baddeley will try and hold off the the biggest threat in golf, Tiger Woods on the final day of a major, and hang on to win the US Open. This time last year Geoff Ogilvy, another Aussie, came from nowhere to win his first Major. Back in the 80's and 90's I would always get up early to watch the Golf Majors in the hope of seeing The Shark, Greg Norman win. He seldom did and I'd feel disappointed. Hopefully Aaron will hold his nerve and triumph.
Tomorrow I'm going on an overnight hike on the Bibbulmun Track. It's pretty cold in the south-west at the moment so I'm trying to fit two sleeping bags in so I've got a better chance of not freezing tomorrow night!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Wheelie Bin

An even later finish tonight after a very strange night in the cab. One of the other drivers got a job to take someone to Perth (a lazy $350 fare and 7 hour round trip!) in the cab I was rostered to drive, so I drove the wheel chair taxi, colloquially known as "the wheelie bin"! My first job was to a spot in the bush 20km west of Nannup for a fare of $127! The lady I took ear-bashed me the entire trip and was the sort of person who says a lot of things that should be challenged but for the sake of peace and sanity you don't tend to challenge! I had to smile to myself a couple of times when she tickled my "Bad Grammar Man" funny bone. She referred to a certain place a couple of times as that "pacific spot" and I'm sure she wasn't talking about Hawaii, and later mentioned the "Christian Philadelphians" who I presume she mistook for the "Christadelphians".

My next job was to Dunsborough but with dubious directions and street numbering it took me about 15 minutes just to find the right house and get on the road so by the time I got back from there the Noodle Bar was closed and I'd missed out on the Seafood Mee Goreng noodles I'd been looking forward to all night.
Things got much worse than that though! I picked up 6 people from the Goose, two of the ladies sitting in the back hatch, when the car ran out of gas! LPG Gas that is! It coughed and spluttered and finally died, then I succeeded in flattening the battery while trying to re-start it on what I thought was the reserve petrol tank! Turns out the petrol tank holds about 2 litres and is only used for starting the engine! The customers took it in very good humour.
Many comments were made back and forth, amongst which the most memorable were:

Female Customer: "Now we'll never get there"
Me: "Yeah we will, it'll be no problem with this many people pushing".

Me: "I'll turn the meter off until we get this sorted and back on the road."
Customer: "We've past the point where we owe you money...!"

John came to there rescue in the maxi and I drove his car for the next few hours of a very busy night.

Later Leggy towed me to the 24 Houry and used his jump pack battery to get me started again.

A bit later my customer was not at the appointed pick-up address and coincidentally a police car pulled up next to me to say they'd had a report of a "domestic" but couldn't find it. When I knocked on the door of the address I'd been given I was informed by the males in the house that "the woman has walked off" with what I presume were meant to be knowing looks and tones. As I was getting back in the cab one of them gave me $20 and pointed me in the direction she'd set off and asked me to see if I could find her and take her home.
I did just that but not before she called her husband on her mobile and let rip at him with a torrent of swearing and abuse. I think I'd found the "domestic"!

I finished at 5 and made plenty of money tonight. Now the question is will I get enough sleep to be able to get up and watch the Geelong V Brisbane game at 11.00 in the morning!

Further to that, on Monday and Tuesday I'm going on an overnight hike on the Bibbulmun Track with a group of year 10 students that I've been helping a teacher with for the last few weeks. It will be a challenging hike I'm sure, moreso emotionally than physically!

Just a quick word before I finish on Sport Boy's soccer game this morning. From the comparitive riches of our initial 13 man squad, this morning we only had 8 players so had to play one short against St Joseph's Eagles. Despite being out-numbered and being under early pressure, the kids played extremely well and ended up winning 5-0. Sport Boy scored two goals and in the second half when I switched him into defense also played really well. He has become our most consistent and reliable player this season. It was a very good game and some of the kid's passing movements brought comments and appreciation from the crowd, not just the proud parents but senior soccer players who were watching the game.

Just time to check in on Aaron Baddeley's progress in the 3rd round of the US Open before I go to bed. Need to go soon before the sun starts to come up!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Too Tired to Blog

It's 3.30am at Holt Press after a very full day and night.
The last day of YWAM stuff at school. Pizzas for lunch with 100 hungry kids.
Driving the cab tonight. No time to post about the drunk woman driver and her unbelievable excuses and denial, that will have to wait.
Thankfully Sport Boy's soccer game tomorrow kicks off at Noon so I can have a decent sleep-in (hopefully).

Friday, June 15, 2007

The YWAM Crew @ Busso High

Posted by Picasa

The YWAM Crew

Top: Lauren, Group playing with toys, Corey, Lara
2nd: Carter, Landon-the team leader, Merrick, Cara
3rd: ?, Carlos, Sonya, Dan
Bottom: Sara, Sarah, Lauren, Lauren

All week I've had a team of young people from YWAM working in the school. There are 13 of them, from Canada, England, Australia, Brazil and the USA, who have presented seminars to all the Yr 8 & 9 Health Ed classes on topics like Bullying, Relationships, Alcohol and Drugs. They've done a great job and we've had a really good time together, they hang out in my office between sessions playing with all my toys and puzzles and helping me with jobs that need doing. Considering they're all aged between 18-20 and have paid their own way to come to Australia and be part of a 6 month DTS-Discipleship Training School- they are a very impressive bunch of young people. Before coming to Busselton they spent time in China and Mongolia!
Tomorrow is their last day so we're having a big pizza lunch and inviting the kids to come and hang out with them and hear a bit more of their story. Today they helped me run a Phat Thursday lunchtime program and got their hands dirty playing "Frozen Chook Ten Pin Bowling", always a poular favourite. Corey, top row, 3rd from the left, even managed to bowl a strike at his first attempt, a truly impressive achievement!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I've been playing a lot of Scrabble on the computer lately, ever since Paul got it working for me again.
I play a 2 handed game against Professor Maven, the computer player. The rating level ranges from Novice to Champion. I set the computer to expert level, the second highest rating. It wins most of the time but every now and then I manage to overcome it's lightning moves and encyclopaedic dictionary. My winning ratio stands at 28%. Most of the time the game seems reasonably fair but every now and then the automatic tile picker serves me up a rack of absolute rubbish. Thus the 7 letters I copped the other night. I'm pleased and proud to say that I went on to win the game, thanks largely to scoring two 7 letter words in the game, Wanders and Trombone, and the 50 bonus points for each of them. Maven got one two but I held him off in a tense finish.
I love Scrabble and it's good for my brain, lots of problem solving and lateral thinking and the computer doesn't complain when I take half an hour over my move.
Posted by Picasa

Sunset from Moses Rock

Posted by Picasa

The Queen Surveys her Kingdom

Posted by Picasa

Sunday Drivers

A few scenes from Sunday's driving lesson excursion with Favourite Daughter.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Day After

... It was and it wasn't.

For a whole bunch of reasons, I never thought I'd say this, but I've started seeing a "therapist".

It seems to help a bit.

Again I feel vulnerable, and I don't like it.

The possibility of depression has been raised again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


A busy day. Not much to say. Not doing very well. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Cats are Number 1!

I know there's a few Holt Press readers who switch off when I start talking about football, in fact I know there's one who clicks Next Blog at the mere mention of anything about any sport at all, but I just have to say The Cats won their 6th game in a row today in a very hard-fought contest with the Adelaide Crows at Football Park in Adelaide and now sit at the top of the AFL Ladder at the half-way mark of the season.
That is good, I'm a happy little blogger!

I went driving with Favourite Daughter this afternoon and she clocked up another 3 1/2 hours in her log book. (She needs 25 in total of supervised driving). We went down Caves Road and discovered a beautiful place called Karriview Lodge, somewhere to go if you win Lotto. I don't play Lotto so it's unlikely I'll get there, but it was nice to see a glimpse of how the other half live. Next stop was Moses Rock where I confused a tourist by asking which way the McDonalds was? She looked genuinely confused!

A funny thing happened in Dunsborough on the way home. We pulled up outside the Big Pig Pizza Shop and as FD turned the engine off, all the lights in Dunsborough went off! I'm not suggesting there was a connection but it was certainly strange to be plunged into the darkness of a blackout at the very moment she turned the key off.

But wait, there's more, the strangeness did not end there.

We adjourned to the public toilets for a necessary break then returned to the car, forgoing the idea of pizza which I was fairly sure could not be cooked by torch light. FD got in the car, turned the key to start the motor, and I kid you not, all the lights in Dunsborough came back on!!
True story!

So, we got out of the car and ordered a couple of pizzas while our luck held!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dream or reality?

I think I dreamed this morning that the soccer team won 4-0 and Sport Boy played really well, or it may have happened in real life, I'm not sure. If I did get up this morning and go to soccer after 3 and a bit hours of post-taxi sleep it was one of the more impressive feats of human endurance in the post-modern era, or in the last week, one of the two.

Beyond the soccer dream there was a hazy garage sale experience in which I found one of those three wheeled push-bikes (trikes?) that seem to be peculiarly common in Busselton and was able to haggle the price down from $250 to $190. I think removing the front wheel and loosening the classic "Angel Bar" handlebars enabled me to get it in the car to bring home. Replete with large basket at the back, between the two rear tyres, it will make an ideal vehicle for the junk mail round, and as a transition stage before one or both of us has to take to a gopher. They cost about $700-800 new so it was a "bargain"!

I spent the afternoon back in bed recovering from last night and preparing for tonight. In an effort to raise some extra funds, and because I'll be away for a few weeks in July and September, I'm driving the taxi on both Friday and Saturday nights this month.

My most interesting fare tonight was to pick up a family of 5 from the airport who had just flown down from Perth on a small twin propellor passenger plane. Turns out prior to that they had flown down from Broome this afternoon. I took them on the final leg of their journey, to Eagle Bay, where they were going to a party! That's a darn long way to come to a party! The bloke, who wore a cowboy hat off the plane, has a cattle station near Broome and there was an abundance of cowboy hats in evidence when we arrived at the party. Apparently The Magnificent Seven (a "country" band of some repute) were playing. I take this on advisement, courtesy of a subsequent customer, because I of course have a deliberate extremely small knowledge of country music and it's proponents. I have an inheritance coming which is designed to remedy this particular deficiency so I'm not in any hurry to further my knowledge at this point, and considering what the precursor to said inheritance must necessarily be, nor am I in any hurry in the future.
I can only surmise that there is money to be made in either cattle or country music, or perhaps even both, because apart form the cost of the flying excursion, the bloke in the cowboy hat gave me $100 for the $85 fare and told me to keep the change.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

That Friday Feeling

It's funny how different days of the week "feel" and there's no denying that Fridays feel better than other week days, just as Saturdays feel better than Sundays.

Today was another productive day, and tonight was another profitable night in the taxi, with three trips to Dunsborough, making up for last week's none. The icing on the cake tonight was the very exciting footy broadcast on the radio with Essendon coming back from 5 goals down to beat West Coast by a point! I was punching the air in the cab when the final siren went.

I've been helping one of the teachers at school with a particularly difficult class of year 10's, helping to prepare them for an overnight hike we're going to do on the Bibbulmun Track in a couple of weeks. Their behaviour is very challenging so the hike may prove to be an exercise in frustration and the testing of our patience. Hopefully they will gain something from the experience and feel a sense of achievement, something that seems quite foreign to them at this stage.

I've got Sport Boy's soccer game in 5 hours so I need to get some sleep before then if I can.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hopes and Dreams

The day didn't start well but ended up being quite productive; I got a number of outstanding jobs completed, mostly to do with Country Week and mostly involving paperwork.
It's less than a month till Country Week, the event where we take 156 kids to Perth for a week of sporting competition and social events. As manager of the CW team it's up to me to make sure everything is organised and ready, from fees and budgets to buses and accommodation, meals, fixtures and risk management. I spent some time on the net today looking for the best deal on a hire car for me to use for the week so I can get around to all the venues, deliver the lunches, pick up last minute items needed for teams and be available to take kids to hospital when they get injured, note I said when not if, it's almost certain that we'll have a few kids hurt during the week, it goes with the territory.

This year I'm picking the car up in Perth so that I can drop it off at the airport because on the Friday afternoon (July 6) I'm flying to Melbourne for a couple of weeks for a feast of football.
It will be pretty tight that night, I arrive in Melbourne at 6:15pm and head straight for Docklands Stadium because the Geelong v Essendon game starts at 7:40pm!
I've booked a cheap little car to get around for a couple of days as I take in a couple more games of footy, before dropping that car off at Avalon airport and flying to Sydney on Sunday morning.
There's a dual purpose to this part of the trip; I'm going to watch the Dockers play the Sydney Swans at the SCG, the first time I'll have been to that ground, and then staying with Rachel and Michael for three days which I'm really looking forward to.

Rachel was chaplain at Perth Mod for many years and is a good friend but her real claim to fame is that she is the one who introduced me to blogging. In fact, the original Holt Press was created accidentally while I was in the process of trying to leave a comment on her blog, BarrandGirl, which is a clever play on words: Rachel's husband's surname is Barr and the blog title also borrows from the popular pub/restaurant theme "Bar and Grill" clever huh?

Sadly Rachel doesn't blog very often, she's too busy enjoying life and work and marriage in Sydney town but I still drop by every now and then to see if she's posted lately. A quick check reveals that Rachel's had nothing to say in the blogosphere since March 22! Shame ! You can follow the link if you want to find out more.

Apart from the Friday night game against Essendon I'm also going to see the Cats play Collingwood at the MCG and the Western Bulldogs back at Docklands. In case you're wondering about why, this will be the start of my long service leave which will see me have all of third term off work. I had a stack of credit card reward points I was able to use to pay for most of these flights.
In light of this, and because we haven't been able to come up with any decent plans to travel or do anything special for my long service, and because Geelong are playing so well and looking like genuine finals contenders, I took advantage of a sale at Virgin Blue this week and bought another ticket to Melbourne for the start of September with the intention of being in Melbourne for the AFL Finals, and Grand Final, with the "hope" that Geelong might make it all the way to the BIG GAME on the last Saturday in September.

Further to this, so as to assure my chances of getting tickets to the finals, and if the Cats make it, to the Grand Final, I have just become a member of the Geelong Football Club for the first time. There are various membership packages to choose from but living on this side of the country I will not get to fully utilise it to go to home and away games, although I will be able to use it for 2 out of the 3 games in Melbourne on the trip in July. The real benefit of membership is that it guarantees you the chance to buy finals and Grand Final tickets which are the most sort after sporting tickets in the country. There was a nice piece of serendipity in the purchase. I opted for the Home Game package which cost $165 for 11 games. Tonight at volleyball was pay-night for the first 6 weeks of refereeing. I was due to get paid $150 for the games I've done so far but one of the refs didn't turn up for duty so I had to step in, thus earning an extra $15, pushing my pay up to $165! So, in effect, my volleyball paid for my football!

Of course there is no guarantee Geelong will make the finals or do well enough in them to make it to the Grand Final, it's just hopeful speculation on my part, but, as a long suffering Cats fan of some 40 years, a period in which we have lost 5 Grand Finals starting back in 1967, this year represents one of the best chances we've had of breaking that terrible barren streak, and if it happens I want to be there to see it!

And if it does happen it will be the perfect use of my long service leave!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More on the Subject

I knew yesterday's post would provoke a reaction. Cara, 2Peter and The Heir all left thoughtful comments and I largely agree with the things they said. I certainly agree that men should take responsibility for and control their actions in relation to girls and women. My experience is that while many do, many don't, or, they allow themselves to fall into a type of behaviour and attitude which devalues women and treats them as sex objects. I see it repeatedly. And I'm not so immune that bodily displays don't affect me, despite my firm beliefs and values on the subject. We are body soul and spirit and react at all levels. The spirit should control the body. But it doesn't always.
In light of this, I think girls should at the very least be made aware of how they may be viewed by some boys and men, and be willing to consider that when choosing what to wear.
Men are ultimately responsible for their actions, and women are never to blame for what men do based solely on what they wear, but it is unrealistic to think you can wear whatever you want and not attract attention which may well be unhelpful to both viewer and wearer.
The female body is a beautiful thing and should be appreciated, but more than that, it should be respected. When it is put on open display and portrayed as a sexual object it diminishes respect and creates problems for many men.
In a school context, where the primary objective is education and development, revealing clothes are an unnecessary distraction.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


After the extra long weekend it was a bit of a struggle to get back into a work frame of mind. I didn't achieve much in the morning and the afternoon was taken up with a student services meeting. It was uneventful until the last few minutes when a comment was made about the shortness of some of the girl's skirts at present being inappropriate but that the male teacher in question was unwilling to confront the female students because of the risk of being accused of being a pervert. I understood where he was coming from and agree it's a tricky issue. What surprised me was the response from one of the female staff who had a go at him about palming the issue off onto the female staff.

A few times in my career as a youthworker I have had occasion to challenge girls about their attire when it has been too short, too low cut or too revealing but I have also been burnt by the experience. One time in particular the girl in question got extremely upset with me and it damaged what had been a good relationship.

In 2007, girls can and do wear whatever they like, revealing more and more of their bodies.
That is within their rights, but, they should be mindful of the impact it has on boys and men who see them and the unintended message it can send.
I have asked girls whether they realise the impact they have and how it can be interpreted, and usually get one of two responses. 1. Naivte, no awareness of it's impact and surprise when told, or 2. oblivious disregard, they know exactly what they're doing and they don't care!
Either way, it can be very difficult for a man not to be drawn to girl's bodies when they are so openly on show. While the attraction between the sexes can be a natural and pleasant part of life, for those of us who are married and seeking to be faithful, and to honour our wives and our committment to them, the display can be unhelpfully distracting.

At the same time, I'm well aware that our society has elevated sex and sexual imagery to a huge level and we are constantly bombarded with sex and sexual images in the media and in day-to-day life, which desensitizes us to the issue and sends a message to girls that they are valued for sex more so than for character or personality or values and behaviour. Similarly boys and men are persuded that girls are sex objects above all else and are to be pursued and treated as such. I see and hear the evidence of this every Friday night in the taxi and the older the boys get the more basic and blatant their attitudes become.
I have warned female passengers about the risks they face at the hands and attention of sleazy alcohol- fuelled young men with only one thing on their minds.
For the girls who are still at school, they are already playing adult games, dressing in adult ways and taking adult risks, long before they are mature enough or ready to handle adult responsibility.
The issue won't go away quickly, in fact I think it will just continue to get worse, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed and at times confronted.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Yesterday afternoon Sophie drove us all up to Bunbury so we could visit Jordy at the State Youth Games. He was pretty tired after a full weekend of exertion, late nights and little sleep. He said he had rolled off the small air mattress onto the wooden gym floor repeatedly during the night. While we were there I snapped this picture of one of the other church team's shirts which had me questioning their theology. Anyone who knows anything about Aussie Rules Football knows that no-one loves Collingwood supporters!
Posted by Picasa

Meet the Meetings

Scenes from my four meetings on Friday, L-R; Cam at the Chaplains Association meeting in Gosnells, Jackie, Nathan and Rolf at the Augusta Beach Mission Exec, John Hackett at Carine where I met to discuss the future development possibilities of The Cool School Race Camp, and Cam again who was at the Friday night gathering for the fantasy footy draft! The last was definitely the most enjoyable of the 4!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I took the opportunity to call in and visit an old friend of ours yesterday . Miriam lives in Innaloo but we first met when we lived and worked in Warwick at the Chip Inn drop in centre at Warwick Church of Christ.
Miriam and Jan adopted us in the role of surrogate grandparents and we have stayed in touch ever since. They always came to visit at Christmas and brought gifts for our family.
Almost exactly 12 months ago, Jan passed away at the age of 91 (I think). He was sitting in church singing his favourite hymn at the time and just clsed his eyes, dropped his head and as Miriam said, "His spirit was gone". As life-long believers it was a peacful and beautiful way to die and not a cause of sadness or grief at all.
Miriam keeps herself busy within the reitirement village in which she lives and with her family and friends. She's just been to Bribie Island and Uluru with her two daughters and told some lovely stories of her time away. She is writing a book of the story of their lives and as a highly articulate and intelligent woman who thankfully has full retention of her mental faculties, it promises to be a great read. She and Jan lived very full and adventurous lives.
Before I left I asked whether she would come down to Busselton for a visit and her eyes lit up and she said yes she'd love to. We will organise it so that we can pick her up when I'm up in Perth for work some time in the next couple of months.
She and Carolyn are very fond of one another so I'm sure it will be a special visit for everyone.
Posted by Picasa

The Blog Post you have when you're not having a Blog Post

I promised myself I wouldn't blog tonight, I'd just go straight to bed when I got home from work.
This is the result!

I couldn't get a ticket to the footy as it was a sell-out, which in the end was a blessing in disguise cause West Coast won by 11 goals and I wouldn't have enjoyed watching that!

Instead I went to visit an old friend but I won't say any more about that now, it can wait till I upload some pictures and have more time.

I then finally located The Art Shed, an art supply shop in Myaree that I've been told about but never been able to find before. Finding it was well worth it, I got some bargains and have plenty of big blank canvases to work on.

The drive home to Busso was uneventful. A succession of signs on the highway promised a "HUGE GARAGE SALE" at Dawesville but it was in fact a piddly affair with a motley assortment of rubbish, trash and garbage.

I started in the taxi at 6.45pm and have just finished at 6.30am, the late shift being punishment for my sin of starting late. It was a pretty good shift, busy most of the night, a good earner, and some interesting customers. One of them was a former Carine student, Nathan, so we spent the trip to Yallingup catching up on each other's news. He was sporting a very fancy twirled moustache and makes a living as a Share Trader.
The last hour was the toughest, trying to stay awake enough to read the paper and answer the two calls we got for cabs.

I'm going to bed and I'd really like to sleep until after lunchtime.
I'll let you know how I got on!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Meeting Day

I survived my 4 meetings today, I left Busselton at 7.15 this morning and the last one finished at about 11pm. They were all productive in different ways. The last one was the most fun with all the boys in the fantasy footy league trading and negotiating at the mid-season draft while we watched the Dockers lose to Collingwood.
Now Letchy and I are watching the sport on Foxtel.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to go to the footy before heading home.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Early Start

Despite being in a considerable amount of pain most of the day I played my first game of volleyball for a month tonight. Sadly we lost but it was good to be back playing.

Tomorrow I leave early for Perth for a full day of meetings.

I was planning to stay up there the night and come back Saturday morning for the kid's soccer game but we found out tonight we have a bye this week so I've decided to stay in Perth and go to the football to see West Coast play the Kangaroos, my first AFL game of the season. C'mon the Roos.

It will be a quick trip back after the footy so I can drive the taxi on Saturday night.

It's a long weekend so there should be plenty of time to sleep and recover after a hectic couple of days.