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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Bendigo Easter Festival

For anyone who missed the posts on Facebook, Hokushin Shinoh Ryu Iaido Bendigo was indeed in the Bendigo Easter Festival. I was seriously low on willing participants from my membership, with just five of us plus juniors Trin and Is, but was helped out by Shanny (one of my students) bringing 5 of her mates along, as well as Carolynn volunteering, and Issy's Dad. We rounded up a few extra uniforms from people who couldn't make it, and I think presented a pretty good little team.  This was our group (plus two more who were parking the car)

In the middle is Lindsay in a set of armour built by one of the Melbourne Iaido crew. It was made of 1.5mm steel, and weighed in around 30 kilos.. that's in just four pieces - the do (chestplate), kusazuri (plates that hang from the waist), kabuto (helmet) and menpo (mask). Lins powered through the whole parade wearing it all though, including the mask, and I'm sure he terrified and delighted many kids.

As an aside, I'm now looking at making my own set of armour - lighter, but more complete than this one. I'm not sure I'll have it finished by the next Easter parade, but it's good to have a project. I may be calling on Mum some more to raid for tools as needed (but I'll return them once I'm done, of course).

Everyone did a great job. I'm especially proud of Trinity and Isabelle who not only walked the entire parade, but also ran from person to person handing out fliers.. which I think means technically they walked further than any of us. I'm sure the kids watching were most impressed by our little Samurai.

We handed out nearly 300 fliers, and I actually got a call yesterday from someone who saw us and is interested in checking out the classes. I'm not expecting a huge influx of new members, but it was a fun experience and now 40,000 odd people in Bendigo know we exist.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


Good to read of your plans and adventures Glenn. Somehow, can't comment on the post so I made a comments post.

Easter came and went without much notice here. We had the Deb Ball on Thursday 24th so that was the main focus since we returned from our cruise.It went very well thanks to much organisation by the coordinator.

Quiet Easter break with dancing on Saturday night and on Sunday when we went to Moama. BBQ lunch with Denise's family on Saturday and they've been to my popup jewellery shop. (Really Tamara's but still here at the moment so I'm trying to reduce the stock)

Mum, Clive and Lisa's family here for lunch on Monday. Visited Damien, Cheryl, Oscar and Lily today.
Great to hangout with Dayna, Bruce, Glenn and Carolynn on Sunday night.

Next Wednesday I'm taking the jewellery sale  to the Day Club. A lady selling bags will be there but I think $2 and $5 jewellery will generate a lot of interest. Lisa and Carolynn have put some in boxes.

Mum had problems today. Her hot water service died and then her washing machine as well. She rang the plumber who installed the heater and he has replaced the hot water service with one the same for ease of installation.We'll check new machines over the next couple of days then pull hers out over the weekend. It's very big but Clive thinks we can manage it. He'll see if the problem is something easy to fix but Mum thinks a new machine is the way to go (and a smaller one)

Enjoying this beautiful weather although I needed to spread some water around tonight. I found a front view of your street Glenn but not anything to see what the inside looks like.

Love and hugs to all from Mum and Nanny

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Nelson, er, Albany Road Adventures

It’s nice to get away for a bit.
It’s been in planning for ages — years, actually — because Dee’s mum is turning 70 in a matter of days. After much discussion, we all decided to come to Brisbane and spend the week together on Stradbroke Island: a little swimming, some nice long walks along the beach, maybe some fishing, cooking under the stars, reading books, playing chess and Jenga®. Relaxing.
Which is good, since I start a new job in April.
Yep: After twelve months of daily-changing priorities and a complete lack of direction from the highest levels of management, I’d had enough. (We didn’t even have a CEO for most of the time I was there — and for some reason they didn’t take my application for the job seriously.) Recently we gained both a permanent CEO and a CTO, but like most of the engineering staff I’d been considering my options. Then I caught up with the ex-CTO for lunch, and he told me about an interesting role within the consultancy he was working for, so after some (short!) interviews I had a new job offer and was able to tender my resignation.
(Great timing: my last day is also the day of a company-sponsored Craft Beer Festival, which I’m helping organise!)
Rather a long drive for us yesterday, up to Coffs Harbour. Jules was great in the car, and really only got bored towards the end of the trip. Today we drove on to Surfer’s Paradise, where we’d booked a nice hotel (for the same price as a motel in Coffs!!), and were able to refuel, recharge, wash and then have a nice run on the beach.
Tomorrow we catch a ferry to the island, then spend the rest of the week in a beachside cabin.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Family resemblance

Do you think mini-d/b looks like us? ;-)

We had the anomaly scan this week and I'm happy to report that our bub is normal (or at least healthy, with everything in its place). Most of the scan photos are scary, like this one, but here's another profile (just for mum). Looks like a real human! (and yes I'm still mildly freaking out about it all!) :-)

Everything seems ok, so here's the "due date competition": http://bit.ly/mini-family
Right, enough baby talk! 

Last weekend was Mothering Sunday - Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums - so we headed to Birmingham to see Gwen (& John). It wasn't a wholly happy weekend, while we were away Ky died (b's snake) so we had a little garden burial whilst we were in Birmingham. We gave him an Egyptian burial and included some of his mice (don't worry, they were already dead). 

This week had been another busy one at work, including three evening events. Yesterday we came over to Taunton (in Devon, a 90 min drive from home). Bruce was roped into running a stand at a STEM event (science, technology, engineering & maths). It was at a boarding school like Hogwarts. I was having a day off, so I came over to help (and made Swansea University College of Engineering look like it does lots of chemistry.. Oops).

The perks for coming included cake during the event (just for exhibitors!), beer & pizza after the event, and a night away from home, courtesy of b's work. We're going to have a look around the town today and get a proper Devonshire tea before driving home. We'll have to time it right.. Six Nations Rugby is on and there's a game in Cardiff - traffic is likely to be a nightmare!
How's everyone else doing? Glenn & Dee - settled in yet? 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Gordon St Geez we need a holiday

I assume by now everyone knows that Ossie and Chez caught chickenpox at just the right time to mess up his planned birthday party and catching up with Dayna and Bruce. Thankfully for all concerned they're over it, and Lil and I have avoided it from the looks of things.

Rescheduling the birthday did allow us to get through another concern - removing all the asbestos-laden sheets around the back yard. It not only encased the shed and part of the carport, it was also used as garden edging and along the back fence for no reason I can see. Oh, and also as part of a somewhat cobbled together workbench as well.

It's gone now, and I've patched up the holes in the shed with shelving I had to tear down to make room for them to remove the asbestos, so at least that's done. Pricey (over a grand for the removal, and another $350 for a clearance certificate) but done. I'll look at getting some cladding for the shed at some point after finances have recovered (Our neighbour it kindly keeping an eye out for "corry" for me as well)

We've now got a couple of free weekends before we hit Ossie's Birthday MkII, followed by Easter (and possibly my Iaido Dojo being in the parade), and then a seminar and grading in Melbourne.. although I've already graded, so I can focus a little more on the admin rather than stressing myself about training.

Free weekends does not mean free weekdays, of course. Here's a bit more about what we've all been up to.

Ossie is keeping up with his swimming (Wednesdays) and Iaido (Saturdays). In both he's improving a lot, although I'm certain in both he needs to listen to his teacher a little more ;) He's considering getting back to soccer (Mondays) as well.

He was getting a bit stressed out about school, and we finally found out why - He's been having trouble finding friends to play with during lunch time. It's not unusual around the start of the year, when classes have been broken up and new friend groups gather.. but he was wandering around school looking for people to play with, and either not finding them or them not wanting to play with him. I do think a part of this was caused by him thinking he didn't need friends outside of Daria, but then Adam (who's attached to Daria at the hip) telling him they didn't like him.. so that left him at a loss. Daria did tell him she would only come to his birthday "for the cake and lollies" so I doubt it's all Adam making decisions there.. but then again this isn't a great time of year for Daria either, so I'm sure there's more going on then just being bored of Os.

Regardless, we spoke to his teacher who is now making sure he sends Ossie out to lunch with somebody, and we've also organised some more play dates with a couple of his friends, and his mood has improved a lot. Hopefully his party helps reconnect him with his old friends as well. Ossie's really good at just playing with anyone, but not so great at putting effort into maintaining friendships.. but I think he's realised he needs to and is building up his own friendship group that isn't so dependant on his cousin ;)

Lily is at kinder (Tuesdays and Fridays) and absolutely loving it. She's so social.. she chats to the teachers, makes heaps of friends, and when she gets home tells us all about it. Apparently she's developing a closer friendship with one girl, so I'll have to ask her who that is. She's so different from Ossie in this sense.. but she also can get very upset if the kids (often complete strangers) that she approaches don't want to play with her. Thankfully that hasn't happened at kinder.

Lil swims as well (also Wednesdays) , and she's started going to a dance class with Cheryl (Mondays). By that I mean she and Cheryl dance together at this class. It's a little more casual than the kids ballet they looked at earlier, but hopefully a stepping stone to more confidence and a willingness to pursue a more formalised dance class when she's older.

On Thursdays she also spends the morning at Edith and Landon's place, no doubt ordering them around and generally being a terrible dictator ;)

Chez continues to go to Pilates, while of course being a full time taxi service for all the kids activities. I don't think she's quite settled into the idea of Tuesdays and Fridays allowing her some free time while both kids are out - there's still too much to catch up on. Seriously, in the next month on Tuesdays Chez has Kinder duty, a car service, and then a Pilates catch up class (from when she had the pox). Friday is Canteen duty, a playschool concert, and then.. a day with nothing on it! Man, the 18th.. that'll be a great day ;) And of course there's all the organising for Ossie's new party.

As for me, apart from Iaido on Tuesdays and Saturdays I do try to get to the gym 2 or three times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and of course work. After being booted out of the house for the asbestos removal I've discovered I really like working away from home, so I'm trying to get to the Library once a week as well.. probably Tuesdays. It's a great change in scenery, plus the internet is faster. I've also got the admin for the Iaido grading as I mentioned (working out costs, Shihan's trip itinerary, hotels and the like), and I'm waiting to hear about the procession which will be another level of organisation.

It's better than being bored I suppose ;)